You CAN Use Facebook for Business AND Personal Use!

Let’s face it – most of us are on Facebook for fun.  We play some games, chat with our friends, find out what is going on in the lives of old school mates – it’s leisure time.  But more and more these days Facebook is becoming business time.  I’m sure that most of you have had the experience of having a co-worker or maybe even your boss try to add you on Facebook.  Do we add them or not?  Do we let them see our crazy status updates and our personal pictures?  Or do we ignore the request and hope they’ll forget about it?

It doesn’t have to be one or the other though.  People who are educated about Facebook are using it for both personal and business relations and they are doing it without giving up more of their personal lives than they want to reveal.  How are they doing it?  By using their Preferences settings and creating Lists of Friends.

If you are mixing business and personal purposes on your Facebook account you NEED to group your Friends into Lists so that you can choose what information you are going to share with them.  For example, I love to play games on my downtime and sometimes my Friends’ Friends will add me as a Friend so that they can play with me.  But I don’t really know them so I put them in a special List so all they can really do is play games with me.  They can’t see my status updates or my pictures of my children or anything else that really matters.  So, let’s build some lists.

Go to the Account drop down list at the top right of your Facebook page and select Edit Friends.  With the “new” Facebook (meaning the current one as of this writing because there always seems to be something new) you will see people you can add.  We don’t care about that right now.  We need to designate Lists or categories for everyone on our Friends list.  So, go to the left hand menu and you’ll see a column labeled “Lists”.  If you have not created any Lists yet you’ll likely only have Friends, Pages, and SMS Subscriptions.  It’s very generic.  If you click on the Friends link though you’ll see the list of all of your friends and to the right of their name you’ll see Add to List with an arrow down button.

It’s a good time to think about the different types of Friends you have and plan out some categories first.  Since I know that I sometimes add Friends of Friends that I don’t know well for game playing purposes I have a List for Game Friends.  I have Best Friends who get to see everything and I have Business Friends who see only business related info.    You can create lists for as many categories as you want.  Now that you have created some categories for you lists go through all of your Friends and assign them a category.

Now you can ensure that anything you want kept private stays that way.  Go back to the Account dropdown list on the upper right hand corner of your page and when you click the arrow  you’ll find a link for Privacy Settings.  Click that link.  On this page you can control what people can and can not see.  There are several different categories that you can adapt any way you like.  At the right of each category you’ll see that it is likely set at the default setting – Only Friends – but there is an arrow down symbol at the end of that.  If you click that arrow down you’ll see other options.  In addition to Only Friends you can choose between Everyone (meaning that everyone in the world can see this and this might be a great choice if you want to share business info like a website), Friends of Friends, and Customize.  Customize is the option that will allow you to be more specific about what information you want to share with specific people.  This is where your Lists come in.

When you click on Customize you can set it to be Only Friends and you can set limits.  You can prevent certain categories of Friends from seeing that area by putting one of more Friends Lists in the “Hide this from these people” box.  You can even add specific people but if you’ve made your Lists efficiently you should need to do this.  So, if you’ve been adding your co-workers but you don’t really want your co-workers to be browsing though your pictures of you and your friends on holidays in Vegas (“what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!”) you can set it so that it is hidden from anyone on your Co-workers List.  They won’t even know it exists.  You can even choose who can add you as a friend!  This is under Privacy Settings and Contact Information.  I have mine set to only Friends of Friends can add me.  If you belong to a lot of Facebook Fan Pages people won’t be able to randomly send you Friend Requests.

By utilizing Lists and Account Settings and Privacy Settings you can use your Facebook account for both business and personal matters.  You can join Fan Pages without having to worry about people adding you that you don’t want to add you.  You can protect your info if you learn how to customize your settings on Facebook.