Personal Versus Business on Facebook: Do’s and Don’ts
Countless variations of these two questions are what prompted me to write this post:
- How do I keep my personal Facebook page separate from my business page?
- How do I avoid annoying all of my friends with business-related posts?
If you've ever asked yourself (or anyone else) questions like this, then read on! I'm going to start with the "don'ts" first so that we can end on a happy note.
Don’t make a living using your personal profile
Your personal profile is a space to connect with friends and family about what's going on in your life. Sometimes that includes business-related information, but more often it's about family, friends, pets, holidays, the things you are doing or interested in, funny videos, and important news. Facebook states right in it's Terms of Service that "You will not use your personal timeline primarily for your own commercial gain, and will use a Facebook Page for such purposes."
In addition to abiding by the Facebook rules, you also want a business page so that you can see the analytics on your page and your posts (personal pages don't have any analytics). These stats can help you create better quality content for your fans as you start to see which posts perform the best. The last reason has to do with privacy, which is a big concern, so it's got its own section below.
Don’t make potential customers or clients ‘friend’ you personally to get information about your business, products, and/or services
The main reason Facebook doesn't want you operating your business from a personal profile has to do with privacy concerns. Think about this for a second: when you created your profile, there was a bunch of personal information that you had to fill in. The last time you went shopping, did the store require that you provide them with all of your contact information, where you live, the names of your friends, photos of your children, and pictures from your last vacation - all before you walk through the door? Would you do that at your store?
By asking potential customers to friend you on Facebook, this is essentially what you are doing. And not only are you getting access to their personal information, you are also giving up your own personal information. And really, do your clients need to know that you marathoned Luke Cage all weekend?
Don’t share every single post from your business page to your personal page
Shares are the most valuable action that someone can take on a Facebook post. For that reason, some people share every single business page post to their personal page. For those people who follow you personally and for business, this can become very tiresome, leading them to either unlike your business page or unfriend your personal profile.
If you are doing this because you only recently created your business page and you are having trouble moving your contacts over, there are some tips below.
Don’t create a separate Facebook account just for your business page.
Once upon a time you could create a business page with a separate login. The problem was, without your personal account listed as a page admin, you lose access to some important Facebook features. If this is where you are at, please read this post asap to get it fixed. Luckily, you can no longer create a business page without being logged in to your personal profile.
The next issue is that some people have decided to get creative and set up a second personal profile that they can use to create their business account. Don't do this! Here are some of the potential issues:
- you will constantly have to login/logout between the two accounts, risking missing an urgent notification
- someone you know sees your second account and thinks it's your real account
- someone you know sees your second account and thinks a hacker is impersonating you, and so they report your account to Facebook - this could result in your account being suspended, which means that you'll also lose access to your business page
- it states right in the Facebook Terms of Service "You will not create more than one personal account." - so again, you run the risk of both of your accounts being suspended
Don’t friend everyone you’ve ever met just so you can spam them with requests to like your page or attend FB events
Don't confuse Facebook with LinkedIn. It's very weird to get a friend request from someone you spoke to for 10 minutes at a networking event. It's called a 'friend' request for a reason - that's why on LinkedIn they are 'connections'.
And don't abuse the privilege that you've been given by people accepting your friend requests. You can invite your friends to like your page (or any page) as well as invite them directly to Facebook events - don't spam your friends with requests over and over again.
Set up some rules around who you want on your personal page
If you're concerned about keeping your business and personal life as separate as possible, you want to make sure that you're only sending and accepting friend requests of people you actually consider friends. If you've been in business for awhile or you do a lot of networking, it's inevitable that you will start to make personal connections with people that are colleagues, connections, and clients, so there will likely always be a bit of overlap.
Don't be afraid to unfriend people that you friended in the past 'just because' - take the chance to spring clean your friends list (but don't do it by putting up one of those guilt-inducing "This is to see who reads my posts" posts!).
Decide when you’ll share from your business to your personal page
You should share the most important posts to your personal page if you think it's appropriate - a fundraiser, a big event, and important announcement. If your business is B2B, you may find yourself sharing less often. If you business is B2C and your friends have previously expressed an interest in your products and services, you may find yourself sharing a bit more. Just watch your analytics - if you find that there is negative feedback on the posts you've been sharing to your personal profile, it may be that you are annoying your friends.
Be strategic when inviting people to events
When you are inviting people to events, go through and only invite people who you honestly might think are interested in or would benefit from the event. If you have a friend who you know won't go but that person has a network that is ideal to your event, please reach out to them privately and ask them to invite their friends - used sparingly, this will get you a better result than if you just invited them and hoped they'd share the event. If you have frequent events (anything weekly or monthly), try to space the invitations out to avoid overwhelming your friends.
Encourage people to like your business page
If you are trying to transition people from your personal page to your business page, there are a few things you can do:
- invite those people to like your page
- put up a post telling people about your page, your business, and what kinds of content to expect as well as linking to your business page; repeat this post periodically
- upload your mailing list to your business page, which will send invites to matching accounts
Anyone who doesn't like your page after a couple of reminders isn't likely to become a customer, so don't worry if you feel like you've "lost" some people.
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