How to be Personal and Professional on Facebook

How to be Personal and Professional on Facebook

These days a lot of business owners are wondering “should I accept friend requests from customers on Facebook?” … Are you one of them?

It can be nerve wracking seeing those friend requests, on the one hand it’s quite flattering that a customer or potential customer wants to become friends, on the other hand what if you end up losing business because of something you post?

Of course the opposite could be true, you may end up offending a potential customer them by not accepting their facebook friend request!

Or what if they turn out to be some kind of crazy stalker even?

It’s a minefield, and added to that we all have pressure put on us to conform to the new business ideals of ‘transparency’, ‘authenticity’ and ‘engagement’.
Yet despite that, we hear stories of people not being hired because of a picture on Facebook of them at a party or a picture of their tattoo … it seems almost impossible to be able to do the right thing!

So how can we balance this all in one profile? After all Facebook does say that each person should have only one profile!

Well luckily it’s not really too hard, Facebook has all the tools you need built in so you can talk to all the different groups of people in your life as and when you wish, whilst protecting your family interests.

The first thing you need to do is organise all your friends into lists.

Now in real life you might have difficulty defining each person to that degree, your sister is obviously a family member but she may well also be a friend! The same may well be true of some of your business associates. But this isn’t a problem at all in fact as facebook allows you to add a person to more than one list.

You can easily choose who gets to see each status update, and again you are not limited to sharing each update with just one list of people. And don’t worry, if your sister is on your family and your friends list she won’t see the update twice!

Before you start to create lists think about keeping it simple. facebook has already created a few lists for you, family, close friends and acquaintances, and you may find these lists are enough for you. Personally I have created a lot of lists as I use them as an aide memoire also, when someone becomes a friend on Facebook I like to make sure I know where I first met them so I out them in a list detailing that.

However when it comes to updating your status you don’t want to be checking 50 boxes so I recommend either using the ‘acquaintance’ list that facebook has already created for you or creating one yourself and calling it something like professional contacts or business associates.

The video below shows you how to create lists.

Of course you may also want to go through your profile and set the defaults of who can see what, if so click here for videos to guide you through every aspect of that.

But hold on a minute, if we’re choosing to hide certain things from certain groups of people doesn’t that make us unauthentic? Aren’t we supposed to be transparent?

Well I don’t believe it does, all of us have many facets to our personalities and we have always reserved some of those aspects for our nearest and dearest.

This is natural, it is utterly authentic to share different things with different people, just as it is to wear different clothes in different settings, I wouldn’t dream of wearing my pyjama’s to a business meeting after all!

What would be unauthentic is to lie, to claim to be something that you are not, particularly if you do so with the aim of extracting money from another individual.

Now there’s a whole other debate about acting as if your dreams have already come true in order to attract the situations you want. I think that’s an excellent thing to do but I would caution against using it as your status update! But don’t worry, there’s plenty more you can still say in your status update!

What about you? Have you made friends with business associates on Facebook? Share your experiences in the comments below!

What you should and shouldn’t share, How to keep your boundaries in place


  1. Tracey Clayton

    Help, I don’t mind who sees my status updates and my pics but I don’t really want the business pages I like or comment on to come up everytime in my friends newsfeeds. which settings do i need to alter to stop or select this? Thanks for all your help and tips.

    1. Gemma Thompson

      Best to do it as you go along, I end up forever playing catch-up! Mind you it gives me something to do when I need to let my brain percolate on other subjects!

    1. Gemma Thompson

      Hi Magnus, yes there is but only if you pay for one of their premium accounts – shame really it would make life easier but I suppose they need to make their money somewhere.

  2. facebook_cemanthe

    Hey Gemma

    Again, very useful. I’m just starting to get my act together and sorting people into lists! A long ardious task but well worth it.

  3. Pingback: Could Your Facebook Profile be Deleted? | Social Media Illumination

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