Social media is one of the easiest and most effective forms of marketing available for small business owners.
And most of us have a Facebook business page (or two!).
Which means you have a personal profile, and probably engage in a few groups to further your marketing efforts too.
But when was the last time you considered how your personal profile could impact on your business activities, and vice versa?
Facebook privacy is essential, not only to protect your personal life from intrusion but to ensure that your business brand isn’t diluted by personal sentiment
Ok, that sounds a little harsh, I know.
And for some, who you are as a person is very much linked to how you manage your business.
But you have to always put your target audience first in everything that you do as a business owner – at every single point of contact, ‘what are my customers/readers/leads going to think of this?’
Sometimes, that does mean you have to be ‘beiger than beige’.
There are some precautions you can take to ensure ‘church’ and ‘state’ are kept separate from one another – but, and this is the biggy… you can only control what you post and share online.
Even if your settings are private, you might find your friends can still screenshot, share and tag you into things.
Set your privacy settings to maximum – and check them frequently
If you don’t want your personal profile accessed from anyone connected to your business, you need to ensure that your privacy settings are at maximum.
Your profile will still be visible (only blocking a profile can achieve that), but by limiting what’s visible to just your name and profile picture can help put eager beavers off finding out too much about you.
There is a ‘friends of friends’ option that you might prefer to opt for, personally, I have still had a stranger manage to stalk me and drop information he’d found out into a group, that although wasn’t particularly private did manage to make things difficult. You don’t know who might be friends with your friends, especially if you live in a small town or city – maximum privacy is the safest option.
Doing so is simple enough – hit the downwards pointing arrow at the top right of the Facebook home page, and click through to ‘settings’. You want the third option on the left hand menu ‘privacy’. You want to set all options listed as ‘who can see…’ to ‘friends’.
It is worth remembering that when Facebook makes updates, it can change your privacy settings. So, do check back often to ensure that things are set how you want them.
Sometimes, people are going to search you out and send you a friend request anyway, so…
Do you want your clients and networking colleagues as ‘friends’?
It can be quite the dilemma when you see a friend request from a client, or networking buddy.
Do you add them, or not?
Do you want them to see your political thoughts and ‘for friends only’ content?
You can get around this by creating ‘lists’ of contacts you don’t want to see your standard facebook fodder, and set the privacy of your posts and photos to ‘friends except…’.
Now, you might think ‘more friends = more people will engage and share my stuff’.
Unfortunately, Facebook algorithms are pretty harsh and it’s incredibly difficult to get your posts in front of people, and have people engage with them. If that’s your planned tactic, you’re better off focusing on Facebook groups that encourage the sharing of content.
Ultimately, there’s only one way to keep personal and business life completely separate
And that’s to avoid social media altogether.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I do enjoy having a bit of a vent on Facebook now and then, and those quizzes can be pretty addictive, so like me, abandoning social media probably isn’t an option for you.
That means you need to be careful what you do decide to share.
Think about your target audience – there values, thoughts and beliefs. Could they take offence at what you’re sharing?
Rather than abandoning your own principles to please potential customers – save the conflicting material for more secure channels, like email or in person sharing.
There’s no reason why you can’t have fun using social media as a small business owner, but you do have some responsibility when it comes to respecting your clients and target audience. It’s worth keeping that in mind as you go forward using Facebook, and if in doubt, delete!