A few weeks back in a post about why politics & massage don't mix, I mentioned the benefits of using the Facebook List feature. I was going to write a post about how and why to use lists on Facebook to maintain your professionalism when you have friends, family, AND clients on your Facebook. But then I came across this article by Gary Wagnon that breaks it down perfectly. So I thought I'd share.
Having a Facebook Split Personality
By Gary Wagnon
Maybe you are Bruce Wayne by day and Batman by night. Or just maybe, you're clients and colleagues know you as Professor or Your Honor, but your high school classmates know you as "HotRod". Nothing is more comforting to hear than, "Hi, I'm Dr. Hotrod Smith and I'll be operating on you today."
Facebook is the great connector. We reconnect with classmates we haven't talked to in years. With them, we relive memories, embarrassing moments and teenage milestones. Plus, it's fun. But sharing that picture of ourselves may not exactly further our professional image. I'm sure lots of us have those past skeletons (like streaking the quadrangle in college), but we don't exactly put them on our resume.
Enter the new Facebook Friends lists. Facebook launched their expanded Smart Friend List feature this week. With this change, your friends can now be categorized into four pre-defined categories, Friends, Family, Acquaintances and geographic location. You have always had the ability to create lists but the process of posting to a specific list was cumbersome and obscure. Today it's prominently displayed next to the share button on your status update.
When the Friends Smart List feature launched, it automatically assigned friends to your local area list. It also assigns some family members to the Family group (although I had to add a couple of my immediate family members. They were in the "List suggestion" section, which made it easy to add.) You will have to initially add people to the other lists. In the beginning, it may be a little time consuming, but if you add new friends to lists as you confirm them, it will be much easier.
Maintaining Your Two Personalities
I frequently hear clients and social media students ask, "How can I keep my business and personal life separated?" Smart lists make that very easy. But more than that, it can be a good practice to enhance your marketing message. Chances are, your friends may not be the least bit interested in your business marketing content. And when your professional connections are "eavesdropping" on your conversations with friends, they probably won't be able to follow along or even be interested. Either group may tend to filter out your updates since they aren't pertinent to them.
A better practice would be to target your updates to the group of friends it is directed to. Create a list of professional or business friends and post only business related content to that group. Meanwhile, create another list of friends that you post your personal updates to. Each list then sees content they should be interested in and will be more attuned to each post you make.
There will be some friends that will fit both categories, so assign them to both. They won't receive duplicate posts, but they will receive posts anytime you update either list. Some of your content will be appropriate for everyone. In those cases you can post to Friends and everyone will receive it.
One thing you should know about Smart Lists. When you post to a list, there is an icon on the "Like Comment" line below the post. The icon will either be a globe (Public), friends or a cog (lists). By mousing over the icon, you will see a message that shows what the update was shared to friends, friends of friends or the name of the Smart List. For that reason, you may want to be cautious with your list names.
List can be useful in many ways, such as announcing local events. What other ways have you used the list feature?
Gary Wagnon is the Sensei of the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a comprehensive online marketing course designed to relieve the frustration business owners and manager face when trying to understand online marketing. Using a martial arts model, students will build on foundational principals, mastering each level before advancing.
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