This post was originally written by Kerry Sugrue, former Social Media Specialist at Apartments.com.
In a world where the phrase “I’ll Facebook you” has become an acceptable salutation, the line between personal and professional is starting to blur. I have been noticing at our company, and others, that people are combining their business and personal networks on Facebook. This practice is okay, as long as you take the time to understand online responsibility and your company’s social media policy. Here are a couple tips for maintaining a versatile Facebook page:
- You represent the brand – Facebook offers the option to put your job history and current employer on your profile. This is a great way to tell your network what your expertise is, but it is also associating you and your actions with your company’s brand. Stop to think about how what you are saying or posting could affect the online image of your company. If you are at all hesitant, ask someone from the PR team for their opinion.
- Be proud of your posts – A good rule of thumb when posting to Facebook is if you wouldn’t want it on a billboard with your name written across the top, don’t post it. You should be proud of everything that you say and every picture that you post. If you are going to invite your business contacts to connect with you on Facebook, consider your profile a giant business card. Don’t be afraid to show off your personality, talk about your family and interests, but make sure it’s done tastefully.
- Provide a good mix of content – By combining your business network with your book club, college friends and Mom, you are putting together a lot of different personalities and interests. Make sure you are providing a good mix of content to match those interests.
- Customize posts – While providing a variety of content on your profile is a great way to keep everyone engaged, you can also use Facebook’s customization options. The next time you post an article about trends in the multifamily industry, try customizing the post so only your friends in the business can see it. Using targeting can encourage more engagement from those who view the post because you know they are interested.
- Utilize privacy settings – While you may do your best to manage your Facebook page professionally, you can’t always control what others say and do. Update your privacy settings so when your college roommate posts a photo from a fraternity party in 1997, your customers or coworkers don’t see it. These privacy settings will give you some peace of mind so you don’t have to worry about what people are seeing. Make sure to keep an eye out for Facebook’s privacy setting updates, which happen often. After catching a lot of flak, they have done a better job of improving their options and keeping users informed, but it’s important to make sure you’re settings are still where you need them.
There is a certain level of responsibility that comes with combining professional and personal networks on Facebook. If you have any questions about doing so, talk to your PR team. Do you think it’s better to keep your business and personal networks separate or is it ok to combine them?