Facebook and Twitter are fun ways to kill time, but they can also be used for business networking. The following strategies will improve your relationship with your business contacts on Facebook and Twitter while also protecting your privacy.
We used some of Meryl K. Evans’s Facebook strategies in this article. Some of our Twitter hints were also inspired from Johnny Makkar’s and Melanie Brooks’ Twitter tips.
Networking on Facebook
Since Facebook, unlike Twitter, doesn’t allow users to have multiple accounts, you’re not supposed to have both a standard user profile and a business account. Keep in mind that business accounts are quite limited in what they can do. On a business account, you can’t view user profiles, site content outside of your own Pages and Social Ads, show up in user searches, send friend requests, or receive friend requests. So, for business networking, it’s best to use your personal profile.
If I use my personal Facebook profile for networking, how can I protect my privacy?
There’s a simple way to make sure you don’t share your information with too many people. For example, let’s say the main people you add to Facebook are your family, personal friends, co-workers, and professional contacts. You can make a list for each group, then control what each can see.
Here’s how to set this up in just 10 steps:
Step 1. Go to your Account on the blue Facebook bar, then click the Edit Friends link.
Step 2. Click on the button that says + Create a List. You’ll see all of your friends.
Step 3. Decide which group you want to create and select all the people that belong in that group. If you have a lot of Facebook friends, it might be easier to find specific people using the search bar.
Step 4. Input a short, easy-to-remember List name in the Enter a Name blank.
Step 5. Click the Create List button.
Step 6. Repeat steps 2 through 5 until all of your Facebook friends are part of a List.
Step 7. Go to your Account on the blue Facebook bar, then click the Privacy Settings link.
Step 8. Scroll down until you see the blue pencil next to the Customize Settings link. Click the link.
Step 9. Now you’ll have a list of how the main information on your Facebook is shared, including your posts, bio, and contact information. Click the grey lock icon next to information you want to keep private, then click the Customize link.
Step 10. You can choose either to make this information visible only to certain Lists of people, or to hide it only from certain Lists. For example, let’s say you want your religious and political views visible only to your personal friends —a very good idea. Click on the bar next to the green checkmark and input the name of the List you put your friends in. Or, if you want to hide your IM screen name only from your professional contacts, go to that section, then input the name of their List next to the red x.
Now you can customize your profile for each group of people you interact with.
How can I improve my business network on Facebook?
1. Register a vanity URL. Instead of showing your name, your page will be associated with a screen name. Picking an easy-to-remember screen name can help people find you. Go to facebook.com/username to set this up.
2. Keep personal status updates hidden from your professional contacts List, but make work-related status updates aimed at them. These can include new projects, business-related articles, or industry news.
3. Add the URL of your Facebook profile to your e-mail and online forum signatures, business cards, and letterhead.
4. Click on the Find Friends tab in the blue Facebook bar, then import e-mail contacts from your business e-mail account.
5. Look for mutual friends among your current friends. If one person seems to have a lot of connections, they may be a good link to future business contacts.
Networking on Twitter
Fortunately, Twitter does allow users to have multiple accounts, so you should have a personal account and a professional account, at the minimum. If you’re active in different companies or industries, you may want to have more.
How can I manage multiple Twitter accounts quickly?
Many applications can help you keep your Twitter accounts under control. Seesmic is a user-friendly application that lets you manage Twitter accounts in a snap. TweetDeck allows you to connect to Facebook, MySpace, Foursquare, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts at the same time. CoTweet is geared toward teams that need to keep up with many corporate Twitter accounts. Get Multiple Twitter Account With One Email Address.
How can I improve my business network on Twitter?
1. Keep your political opinions, religious views, love life, and daily drama strictly off your professional Twitter account.
2. Tweet about new projects, industry news, and professional articles. Use lots of hashtags (#namegoeshere) in your posts.
3. Add the URL of your Twitter account to your e-mail and online forum signatures, business cards, letterhead, and Facebook profile.
4. Search for professionals or companies in your field, then follow them. You can use the search field at the top corner of the page, or go to search.twitter.com to look for industry keywords.
5. Answer other people’s tweets with thoughtful, interesting responses. Participating in different conversations can earn you new followers.