Mathias Bergendahl's Marketing Blog


How to Avoid Mixing Business and Pleasure on Facebook
September 23, 2009, 3:52 pm
Filed under: General Marketing Topics, Social Media Marketing

Each time I add a blog post I typically add it to a discussion group at the NAR and FAR groups at LinkedIn in hopes they’ll be of value to the many Realtors® and industry professionals across our state and the nation who belong to those groups.

A response to a recent article I shared through LinkedIn prompted today’s blog post:

Too late I recognized that my Facebook account, which I began for personal use, has become a wild mix of personal and business contacts, which it never was intended to be. Even after creating groups and setting different access privileges, I am rather unhappy with the resulting unruliness. Would you advise using a separate account for business on Facebook? And, how on earth am I going to move my existing business contacts over there? I suppose dumping them after a polite request or two will not really endear me to them?

The question is actually asked quite often in the classes I teach. Just as for the individual who posed the question, many of our members started with only one Facebook profile, and now find themselves with a combination of personal and business connections.

I faced a similar dilemma earlier this year when many of my business contacts invited me to become their Facebook friend. At that time I only had a personal profile where I connected with friends around the world. Rather than upset someone for not accepting their friend request, I set up a separate business profile using my email address at work.

Such a separation makes sense as the information you want to share with your business contacts should be different from those you have with your closest friends. Imagine being at a party at a friend’s house on a Saturday night and all you hear discussed around the table is business. Most would tune out, right? While you may share family pictures with your friends through your personal Facebook account, you should focus on posting information related to the needs of a real estate client at your business-oriented profile.

There are a few options available. You can use a fan page rather than profile for your business connections. Alternatively, you can mix audiences but hide the content by other than business contacts in order to keep the information focused on real estate. In my opinion, though, the safest and smartest solution to make sure you don’t mix the two groups at all is to keep two separate profiles. That way you make sure not to confuse either of your audiences, nor bore them with information they really aren’t looking for. The way you set up different accounts is simply by using two different email addresses.

Now to the issue of adding a business profile, and asking current contacts to move to another profile:

In order to not inconvenience your business contacts, consider keeping your existing profile as the one you’ll use for business relationships. Remove any previous posts that may have been of a more personal nature and links of the same kind. Next, add helpful information and links to resources suitable for that particular audience.

Your true friends will likely be more accepting to your switch so simply un-friend those you feel don’t fit the profile of a business contact and invite them to become your friends from your new personal profile.

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