Creating a Facebook account can work wonders for your image when it comes to networking for your local business. Facebook can serve as a multilevel media platform when it comes to gaining new contacts, staying in touch with current contacts, advertising of current and upcoming promotions, and gaining traffic to your website.
With all of these benefits in mind, it’s important to still keep in mind the complications that may arise with maintaining a ‘professional’ Facebook profile; specifically in regards to the healhy balance of displaying both your professional, and personal life. The dangers of maintaining this equilibrium go beyond the obvious examples of posting photos depicting excessive alcohol consumption, offensive language, risqué clothing, and any other type of inappropriate behavior. To be taken professionally, be very, very careful what you share with the world on Facebook/My Space (reminds me of the story ‘The Emperor Has No Clothes’). People seem to forget that everyone can see what you’re really not wearing.
Here are a few suggestions when creating a Facebook profile for professional business networking:
• Choose your Friends wisely. Remember your Friends can see information about your other Friends in your Profile.
• If you decide to use Facebook for professional networking, take a close look at your Profile and decide what you want business contacts or prospective employers to see – and what you don’t.
• Create a simple profile (or clean up with your existing one) with minimal graphics and widgets.
• Limit the photos you post.
• Watch your tone. It’s important to keep a measured and polite tone while on social networks. This is important especially on mainstream social networking sites, such as facebook. Post things you’d feel comfortable saying in person, and avoid inside jokes that only a few of your contacts would understand.
• Keep in mind, within most social networks; you can set up private groups where those kinds of exchanges will not only be more appropriate. Always keep in mind: “It’s better to be clear than clever.” “Don’t expect people to get it. Be very explicit.”
• Sarcastic humor and anger can be dangerous in social network postings, just as they are in e-mail messages. Always think twice before sharing!
• Post content relevant to your job search or career.
• Use Facebook email to build relationships with your Friends.
• Daily Posts. Post content that highlights your personal interests and your professional areas of expertise. As a real estate agent, you may want to post tips on moving, local points of interest, tips on selecting an agent, etc. Posting personal picture slideshows is fine — again, within reason. You clearly want to avoid the pitfall of displaying shots of wild revelry. But for all the agony about what’s acceptable and what’s not, remember that offering contacts a decent glimpse into what makes you can have business benefits. It strengthens relationships. It really helps establish connections. People like to do business with people they know.
• It is OK to de-friend someone. Be selective when you are asked to be someone’s friend. Don’t feel that you have to accept every friend request that comes to you. You may also want to “clean up” your friends list from time to time. While many trivial actions do prompt Facebook to post an alert to all your friends – such as, adding a photo, or changing your relationship status.
We’ll keep you posted with our suggestions on maintaining a professional Facebook profile. But until then, make sure you have fun with the website! It should be an enjoyable experience socializing. Just remember what happens on Facebook stays on Facebook. Enjoy!
Market Insights, LLC.