How to use your personal profile for business.
If you have a Facebook business page that gets zero engagement, then this is for you. I've had a business page on Facebook for years, and it used to do pretty well. But it quickly went down hill, gradually people stopped seeing the posts. And it became obvious that ultimately no one was going to see any of my posts unless I paid for a "boost". Good ol' Facebook, wanting small businesses to pay for people to see a single post. Ridiculous. Despite this, my personal profile would always get heaps of engagement whenever I posted any of my art. So, about a year ago I decided to use my personal profile as my business page instead. Problem solved! I made one final post on my business page, directing any newcomers towards my personal profile instead. And I was off and running.
Now, before you make the switch it's important to get a few things in order on the back end of Facey. I don't want my customers seeing my holiday snaps, and I don't want new contacts seeing old photo albums of me drunk at Uni, and I don't want family members seeing posts asking artists to submit artwork for my next exhibition. Luckily, FB has made it reasonably easy to separate out what different people can view on your profile.
Go to your Home Page, in the menu bar on the left find the option that says "Friend Lists". It'll take you to a page that shows you a bunch of 'lists' that Facebook has automatically categorised all your friends into. This will be based off where people live, work and what school they went to. I find all these automatic lists essentially useless, but they can't be deleted. All you can do is hit the little settings icon and 'archive' them. That way in other places on Facebook they won't show up as an option. Creating your own list is fairly simple, just hit the 'create list' button, give it a relevant title, and then add people to it. I have a list for 'artists' to help direct my posts that are only relevant to my fellow artists. And the 'family' and 'close friends' options are great for holiday photos and what not. But, by far the list I find most useful is 'restricted'. It sounds scary, but probably half of my friends are on the restricted list.
What is RESTRICTED? It's a wonderful feature that means your friends can only see the posts you make public. Normally, before you add someone as a friend they can only see what you make public. And then once they're your friend, they have access to everything you've got on your profile for 'friends'. But with the restricted feature, you're free to add people as friends but still only let them have access to your public features. Which is BRILLIANT. No longer do you have to hesitate about adding your boss, or ignoring that friend request from someone you met overseas 7 years ago, or denying that request from a random you met in a chat room. Now, you don't have to hurt their feelings. You simply add them, and put them on restricted. That way all they can see is your lovely suitable public content.
Once you've figured out how to add people and make them restricted, it's time to tailor your posts to suit each target market. If you're posting anything about your business that you want everyone to see, make your post public. I use this for all my posts about my art, and my blog posts. You simply select public when you are doing the post.
If you'd like to make the post only available to a certain group of people, say, family, friends or in my case artists - you just choose the specific friends option from the drop down menu.
You just type in the name of the list you want to show the post to, and select it. Easy peasy! This is so helpful for just showing your family your holiday snaps. By targeting your posts only to their specified market, you allow people to feel more engaged with your content. No longer are they seeing things from you that are irrelevant to them. They're always seeing your content as completely personal. It helps to boost engagement, and ensure that people aren't seeing things from you they don't need to.
Now, to ensure your friends are in the correct list - head into the friends menu from your profile page. Each friend has a little drop down menu that will tell you what lists that are a part of. Close friends can be added to a list together, which is a default Facebook list that everyone has. To get to the custom lists you've made, click through to "add to another list...". This will then show you all your custom lists, and the all important restricted option. If you can't be bothered putting everyone into specific little categories, I recommend simply using the restricted option. Every new person I add as a friend will be added to this list, because they really have no need to see any of my personal posts.
Now, all your new posts are tailored to the right audience, and all your new friends are being added to the right lists. Well done! Already this will make a huge difference in being able to tailor your personal and business posts to the right audiences.
In terms of all your old content though, it's important to make sure you have old photo albums set to the right level of privacy. Because now that you're using your profile for business, we don't want important networking people seeing your trashy old night out photos. Go into the photo albums section of your profile. Each album has a little cog settings icon. I make all my art and exhibition albums public because this is my business angle. Everyone can see these.
But for all the albums showing you and your friends having a great time, or you and your partner lying on a beach half naked in Vanuatu - we want to keep them a little closer to your chest. Simply click the settings icon, and set them to friends instead of public. This means that anyone who's your friend can see the album - EXCEPT friends that you've put on the restricted list. This is why restricted is so good. You can be friends with people, but also stop them from seeing personal stuff that you don't want to share with them. And that they probably don't want to see!
Hopefully this all made sense. When I discovered these settings it made a huge difference to how I post on Facebook. My art related business posts get the engagement they deserve, unlike on the actual Business Page. And my personal posts can be seen by the people they're meant for. It's worked really well for me! Feel free to ask any specific questions, there's actually a lot of other little settings that can help with this. But I didn't want to make the post too long!