If you want to use Facebook for business, I always suggest you create a business fan page. I am a firm believer that when it comes to social media you should keep your personal life and your professional separate to a certain degree. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying don’t tap into your personal network to promote your business. By all means do that
, but let your contacts decide how much they want to hear by inviting them to like your business page. Don’t just flood their feed with your latest promotion, you may find yourself de-friended!
On top of it being a courtesy to your personal contacts, social media is meant to be a place where we talk. It’s a conversation platform and sometimes the conversations that take place are less than professional. While I would still comment with caution, because nothing is truly safe on social media, your personal page should be a place where you can have those conversations without worrying about offending someone or turning them off from your business because of your opinions. For example, I’m a Mom so sometimes I need to talk about “Mom Stuff”. I can think of at least 3 of my clients that could care less about my daughter dunking my son’s tooth brush in the toilet. In fact they may even think I’m a crappy Mom for letting it happen on my watch! My point is, you just never know how people are going to react to stuff, so I don’t recommend connecting with business contacts on your personal page, but if you still insist on mixing business with pleasure, here are 5 things you should never say on Facebook when you’re friends with your clients.
1. Don’t Complain About Other Customers
This is really simple. Don’t complain about other clients if you’re friends with other clients on Facebook. It sends a bad message and makes you look unprofessional. Plus you never know who is connected to who and there is that nasty little “share” button that could really come back to haunt you. Reserve those conversations for offline.
2. Don’t Get too Personal
People post A LOT of stuff on Facebook. On any given day you may know what your friends had for lunch, who had a fight with their spouse and who’s kids are being bad but that doesn’t mean you should do it. Avoid getting too personal, people don’t need to know that your dog hasn’t gone #2 in a week. It’s TMI (too much information ;-). I suggest this even if you’re not connected to your clients, there are just some things better left out of your digital footprint.
3. Steer Clear of Political Conversations or Controversial Topics
This is a big one in my book. While it may be tempting to go toe to toe with your friend from college about who should be the next President and why, avoid it! You never know who you are going to offend. Politics, religion and other controversial topics are better discussed offline with people that you know it is OK to share your views with.
4. Don’t Talk Negatively About Being a Business Owner
This one is tough. I know there are some days where I am tempted to vent about the paperwork I need to do or the meeting that ran an over time but you just can’t. Again, it sends the wrong message. You don’t want your customers to think you don’t like your job or don’t enjoy being in business for yourself.
5. Don’t Forget About Likes
So this is one that can easily slip by you if you’re not careful. While you are not actually going on and posting something, be aware that your Facebook friends can see all the pages you like. If you like a page about Anti-Abortion or Pro-Life, it’s going to show up in your feed and even after it passes through your feed, friends can go to your profile and see all the pages you like. I’ve had a few instances where I have come across people that like a lot of “adult content” pages and I’ve often wondered if they realize that everyone can see those likes!
Bottom line, think before you post and interact on Facebook. Reserve controversial topics and complaints for offline conversations with close contacts. If you don’t want to do that, I recommend creating a business page and keeping business and personal separate. It’s the only way to guarantee you won’t offend anyone and lose business as a result.