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Thursday, September 09, 2010

BNI: There's No Such Thing as a "Personal" Facebook Page

“But Sue, I only use Facebook for personal, not business. I want to keep my personal and business lives separate!” If I had a dime for every time I heard that comment, I’d be a very rich woman! I understand the sentiment, but the problem is this: There’s No Such Thing as a “Personal” Facebook Page!

It is important that you understand whoever looks at your profile is going to view it from their intent, not yours. The viewer is usually looking at your profile in an attempt to better understand who you are, your values, and the judgments you make in life as a whole. Are you giving them a favorable “first impression”?

“Google” yourself and you’ll find that your Facebook profile shows up close to the top of the search – this is what others will find when they search for you. Take a close look at your profile page through the eyes of a “stranger”. Are you someone you would want to know?

Here are 5 things you can do to successfully blend your “personal” and “business” images within your personal Facebook page:

  1. Have a photo that is appealing. Do you look approachable? Do you look like someone we’d like to meet? Can we see your eyes? Are you the only one in the photo so we don’t have to try and figure out which person you are in the group? Smile!

  2. If you are tagged in photos, what image do they portray? If these photos are sending out a “mixed” message, simply adjust your settings so that the photos those people post and tag you in are “hidden” to the general public. (do this in Settings) Remember the line, “birds of a feather”? If you are in some photos taken and posted by others that shed less than a positive light on you, people who read your profile may judge you unfairly. You control your own image. Take charge!

  3. Complete your profile by adding business interests as well as social and personal interests. Let people get to see the “whole” you.

  4. Vary your status updates to include a few business comments occasionally. Potential clients and customers are going to review your info anyway, so give them some great info!

  5. Delete or hide “friends” who make inappropriate or stupid comments. This would include the avid updater who is consistently posting irrelevant comments such as “I’m waiting in the car for my daughter”, then minutes later, “I’m driving my daughter home”, etc. You know who I mean! This also applies to political, sexual, religious, and racial content.

Social media has given microbusinesses the opportunity to create large PR on a scale that competes with the big companies. You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. It’s up to you to enhance and control the image others see. Tweak your profile to compel others to want to get to know you. Once they know, like, and trust you, business can happen.

Sue Henry is owner of Sue Henry Talks, a speaking and training company. She has been teaching people effective business strategies that increase visibility, credibility, and profitability. Her most popular topics are networking, social media marketing in 15 minutes a day, and tools to overcome those negative thoughts that keep you from achieving the success you dream of and deserve. She's an Area Director with BNI MN/NoWI directly responsible for 800 members and a team of 15 ambassadors/directors.

With over 5,500 active chapters, and over 100,000 members throughout every populated continent worldwide, BNI is the largest and most successful business referral organization in the world. BNI was founded in 1985 by Dr. Ivan Misner and the organization, which allows only one person from each profession to join a chapter, offers members the opportunity to share ideas, contacts, and most importantly, referrals. Last year alone, members of BNI passed 6.2 million referrals, generating 2.6 billion dollars’ worth of business.

For more information on BNI, please visit or call BNI Headquarters at 909.608.7575.

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Jerry W. Williamson said...

What a great article. I have never given much thought to this before, but now that you write about it...I hear it all the time. Someone wanting a private life on Facebook is almost an oxymoron isn't it?

I would love to have you as a guest writer on my blog and talk about this. My blog primarily focuses on team building and I think this topic would be a fantastic addition for my readers.

Amberr Hamernik said...

Hi Sue. Your article asks a great question. How do we portray ourselves on Facebook? Is it professional or not? And I think you are completely correct in saying that you can't keep business and personal separate when it comes to this type of social media. You can however, manage what others see, do and post. That is a plus!

Winona said...

I've spoken to quite a few people who make hires after reviewing Facebook accounts, eliminating candidates based solely on what's in their account. It's tough to regulate what other people are saying in Facebook, so it's really important to check your security settings.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate this discussion and have not actually set up a Facebook page despite being self-employed for 8 years. I prefer one-to-one business growth. When I do approach Facebook, I'll be able to do so with careful consideration of what exactly to include to protray the 'real' me through my passion for my business and serving people.

Billy Howard said...

Great article, Sue. Makes me think twice about posting items that could come back to haunt me later. As a Search Engine Optimization Professional, I can attest to the power of Facebook in the world of search through Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.

Sarah said...

Thank you Sue for the great article. I agree that it is so important to keep your image professional, and to be strategic with the security settings on Facebook. Your article has sound advice to help ensure a positive social networking experience.

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