Should businesspeople have a presence on Facebook in addition to LinkedIn? Absolutely! Social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn can serve as your personal PR firm which can promote your accomplishments and expertise. Facebook is very personal and more casual than LinkedIn and it’s a great way to stay connected with family, friends, and even business associates.

If you have been using Facebook as a way to connect with friends and family but want to expand your reach to your business, you can set up groups or fan pages. Facebook only allows you to have one account in your name, but you can have an unlimited amount of groups and fan pages for your business. The most effective Facebook fan pages are updated on a regular basis with new content to keep members informed and engaged.

Think of Facebook as just one more social networking tool to improve your business-to-business marketing while adding personality to your brand. Social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are blurring the lines between business and personal and you can reveal as much or as little about yourself as you wish. Chances are that your colleagues, business contacts and competitors are on these sites already. You need to be on too.

There is no cost to join Facebook and their policies define that your profile must be tied to a  individual name, not a business name. So, if you choose to use Facebook for business, use the “About Me” section to describe what you do. Facebook also offers features to link your website, blog and other business resources. Be sure to include your photo so that others can recognize you online.

Be careful what you write and the pictures you post. If you wouldn’t say or display it in your office, don’t say or display it on Facebook. If you write a message on a friend’s “wall”, remember all of the recipient’s friends can view what you wrote. Make sure your message doesn’t send the wrong message about you or your business. You can send personal messages through Facebook that are private and not posted for all to see.

Don’t accept the Facebook default settings which tend to expose more information than you may want shown online. Take the time to go through each link in the privacy area and make necessary adjustments. Maybe you don’t want people who are casually searching to know your public profile or who your friends are by searching your name on Google. If you’re using your Facebook profile for both personal and business you can change your privacy settings to make sure only the people you want to see your content are seeing it by creating groups such as friends, business and family.

Facebook allows for the sharing of a lot of information about ourselves. Regardless of your motivations online, real relationships can only be developed through respect, positive communication and similar interests. Setup your Facebook profile and pages according to how you want to use them by asking yourself what is your objective? Who do I want to connect with and who do I want to share information with? Please contact me if you would like help defining those objectives: c.louis@charene.net.