Facebook seemed to have been created to allow us to reconnect with old friends, to help us remember birthdays, and sometimes even to shout into the void when we feel the need to express ourselves. However, the longer Facebook is around, the more it changes and the more it becomes a marketing tool for companies, brands, and people. Are you using Facebook to your best advantage for marketing your personal brand?

Although Facebook allows you to have both a personal profile and a business-person page, since they changed to the Timeline format, strangers have been able to see your cover photo and anything you publish publicly by searching for you. You may not need a page as well as a Timeline if you are being thoughtful about what you post and what is in your Profile:

  • About You—Be sure to include a link to your Business Page (if you have one) as well as your website or other social media accounts and your online portfolio in the About section of your Profile. Make sure if a business contact finds your Timeline first, they can easily access your business information.
  • Privacy Settings—No one’s friends are always perfect and you can’t control what they post, so set your privacy so that your Friends List is visible only to you.
  • Business List—If you want to be Facebook Friends with professional connections, make a custom list of your business contacts so that you can limit the privacy of your posts. You can create a Custom privacy setting so that your default audience is only your personal friends, but not your business contacts unless you specifically include them.
  • Always Check your Audience—If you do post to different lists at different times, it’s easy to forget that Facebook remembers your last post and uses those settings again next time. If you posted something publicly on Tuesday night, your post on Wednesday morning will be public, too, unless you change it. Best practice: post to your custom list every time. After you have posted, change the audience to Public or Friends if you want your post to reach more people. That way Facebook does not forget your custom settings and you do not have to recreate them later and save yourself some time.
  • Don’t Be Blank—Since you are searchable, take a moment to post something publicly every so often, once or twice a week, so that even strangers will find something valuable about you if they look. Links to work samples are a great example.

It is just a fact of life that people you meet in either a personal or a business setting are going to look you up on social media. Make sure they are finding the person you want them to find.

Wendy Stackhouse, for Artisan Creative