Creating a Facebook page for your company can be useful, but limited in terms of reach and connectivity. Here’s how to optimize your personal profile for business.
If you’ve already tried suggesting your company page to all of your friends and sharing its content on your wall, here are a few tips on customizing your personal account to share personally and directly with your friends.
Be Selective With Your Profile
It’s good to fill out your profile, but be choosy with the information you share. After basic information and education/work, consider trimming your profile to these fields:
People Who Inspire You: Who wouldn’t want to meet an inspired person?
Quotes: One or two can sum up your opinions and personality nicely.
Books: They are great for starting dialogues.
Make sure you give out enough information, but not so much that your profile looks cluttered! Keep things simple and relevant.
Organize Your Friends
To ensure that your business contacts get business updates and your personal friends get personal updates, you need to organize everyone — otherwise, everyone hears about everything!
If you’ve never managed your friends list before, here’s how to get started.
On your home page (news feed), click on friends underneath your profile photo. Then, click the manage friends list button at the top of the page.
Click the button labeled create a list. A new box will open that contains all of your friends.
Type in a name of your list (Examples: business, personal and so on) where it says enter a name, and start clicking on the friends you want on that list!
No matter how many friends you have, relax and think while making each list.
- Who would or wouldn’t be interested in hearing about your business?
- Who could benefit from what you have to offer, or knows anyone who could?
- Who do you want to have access to your personal details, photos, and updates?
If you return to a list later, Facebook will suggest who else to add in case you miss someone. Also, your lists are kept private by default.
Post a Professional Looking Photo
Even if you’re not the head of your company, it’s a good idea to find a photo of yourself that isn’t super casual. Save your favorite photos (pets, babies, significant others, shenanigans, and so on) in photo albums (with visibility managed accordingly), and limit your profile photo to just you.
If you’re ready to start promoting, here are a few steps to help spread the word about your business-ready page – - and your business.
Make a Custom URL
A custom URL (http://www.facebook.com/socialpbj) is a good way to connect your Facebook profile to communications and other company media. Here’s how to create one.
On your home page (where you see the news feed), click on account in the upper right corner.
Then, click on account settings. When you click on edit to the right of the username, a new field will appear.
Type your desired username in the field. Because your page is business-related, consider using your company name or something related to your industry.
If your desired name isn’t available, a red X will appear. If it is, you’ll get a green check mark. When you’ve settled on a name, click on the save changes button.
You’ve just created your own Facebook URL! Now, here’s what to do with it.
Incorporate Your URL
Ready for new business cards? Be sure to include your Facebook URL in the next run. Printing brochures, pamphlets, and press kits? Make sure the URL for your personal page is listed right alongside the address for your company page. Finally, add your custom URL to your email signature.
Every email and brochure now gives business prospects an option to connect with you directly. This is particularly useful if someone may not be interested in learning about your company right now. If that person likes you personally, he or she can still join your network — you never know who’s on that person’s contact list.
Share Business Updates And Useful Articles
Did you already organize your friends? If yes, it’s time to start promoting.
On your profile, choose the type of content you want to share. After typing in your status update or attaching your link, a padlock will appear next to the share button.
Click on the padlock. Then, click on customize. A new box will open.
Under “make this visible to,” click on the dropdown menu next to “these people.” Click on “specific people…” A new field will appear.
Type the name of the list or lists you want to share your content with. Then, under “hide this from,” type the names of the lists you want to hide your content from — just to be safe.
Click on save setting, hit the share button, and you’re done! Only your business contacts will see what you shared.
Conversely, this works for personal updates, too. If you want to share vacation photos with people close to you, make the album visible to your personal list and hide it from everyone else.
Now that your personal profile is customized and circulating, what’s next?
Well…it’s good to build with what you have. If you’ve already laid down the business foundation for your Facebook page, here are a few tips on maintaining your account and moving along.
Review Your Default Settings
Facebook is always changing. To ensure it doesn’t surprise you — or your friends — review your privacy preferences. Here’s how.
On your homepage, click on account in the upper right corner. Then, click on privacy preferences.
Click on customize settings under your profile content list.
Next, consider adjusting the following fields within the privacy settings.
Photo albums and videos: You may only want certain people to see your photos and videos.
Photos and videos you’re tagged in: You might not want business contacts to see photos and videos of you taken by others.
Who can see wall posts: You might not want business contacts to see personal messages friends post on your wall.
Two more sections to review are “suggest photos of me to friends” and “friends can check me in to Places.” Disabling these options protects you from being mistagged in photos or checked in to locations by anyone other than yourself.
Reorganize Your Friends
It’s good to add each business contact to your business list as they request to be friends. But, situations and people change.
Check your friends lists periodically to see if they need reorganizing – and again, relax and think.
- Is your company focusing on certain locations or industries?
- Do you want to remember where you met your contacts?
- Should some contacts be listed separately because they’ve already met or done business with you?
Your friends lists may be the most time-consuming part of your Facebook page, but keep them current. As you and your company evolve, take the time to find out what categories work best for you.
Strengthen Your Connections
While continuing to share information about your business, interact with your business contacts personally. It could be as simple as congratulating someone on a recent promotion or offering a tidbit of professional advice. Don’t forget, you were friended directly for a personal touch. Be friendly, warm, and positive, and cultivate your relationships.
One last note: Review everything you post for typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors. Because regardless of how tidy your profile is, how interesting your content is, or how carefully you’ve tweaked your lists, nobody digs sloppiness.
With social media, you get out what you put in, so be careful.
Guest writer Jo Yun is marketing coordinator at SocialToaster.