“When you have 500 million friends, you’re bound to make a few enemies.”
That was the tagline for one of last year’s most critically acclaimed and financially successful movies: The Social Network. It was the story of the origin of Facebook, the social media juggernaut that supplanted MySpace.com is THE internet destination for social interaction with friends and family. Facebook has become so big and so significant, Wired Magazine named it (along with Google, Apple and Amazon) as one of the four most influential and powerful tech companies on the planet. People pour their entire lives into Facebook. With the new timeline feature, you can even track a person’s life, from birth all the way to the present.
Photos and videos are taken and added to Facebook within minutes after their capture. You can see and know what a person is doing any minute of the day. Adding silly photos and videos of yourself can become second nature. It can be a lot of fun. But it can also be harmful to your business or career if you’re using Facebook as a networking tool.
The Brand of You
Whether you accept it or not, you do have a personal brand. A way that people think about and relate to you based on how you present yourself online. If you’re using Facebook as a networking tool, you need to be wary about how you present your brand online. Do you really want to upload photos (or worse yet, video) from the New Year’s Eve bash where you were hammered and danced around with underwear on your head when the corporate client that just paid you $15,000 is one of your Facebook friends? Do you really want to post that Halloween profile pic of you dressed like a gangsta when the local YMCA just hired you to come in and take photos of their after-school program? Do you see where I’m going with this? You have to assume that everyone you do business with or want to do business with, will see whatever you put on Facebook. Every photo. Every video. Every status update.
So, here are some tips on how to protect the brand of YOU on Facebook.
- WWMCT. You’ve heard of WWJD bracelets? Well, WWMCT is “What Would My Client Think?” WWMCT if they saw this photo, video or status update? If you’re in the market for a job, change it up to WWMET (What Would My Employer Think). If you are the “CEO” of your business, make sure the image you present online upholds that. When in doubt, just don’t post it. People have been fired over stuff they’ve put on Facebook.
- Update Your Privacy Settings. It seems like Facebook has a new change every other day. Some of their changes (like the aforementioned timeline feature) may affect your privacy settings. They tend to always default to the most broad. Take some time to update your settings so that only the people you want to see your activity on Facebook will see it.
- Keep it Personal. Use your main Facebook account strictly for REAL friends and family. People you actually know, talk to and love. Update your privacy settings so that only they can see your activity. Then use a Facebook fan page for your business. (The one downside of this is that as of this writing, Fan pages can no longer tag people. It kind of stinks because that was a valuable part of the social networking feature for small businesses.)
Facebook can be a great tool for marketing your business. It also can be a great tool for staying connected with loved ones. Use it for one or the other. If you want to use it for both, be wise.