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Last week, I overviewed some tips for using Twitter to build your personal brand, so this week, I wanted to move on to the biggest social network out there: Facebook.
While people generally think of Facebook as simply a tool for interacting with the people they already know, the social network can also be a great way to get discovered more easily – for better or for worse.
1. Page or profile?
The first question you should ask yourself is, “should I set up a personal page, or just use my profile?” This is a matter of preference, although I would generally recommend that you stick with your profile. Now that users can “Subscribe” to your updates, people can see what you choose to post publicly without having access to all the information that an accepted friend would.
2. Subscribe and connect with influential people
Finding people is still a little tough using Facebook’s search, but after their new Graph Search rolls out, this should become easier. Using Facebook’s subscribe feature, you will be able to see that person’s updates, and usually Like or comment on them as well. This could be a great way to get to know more people in your industry, and may even upset some of LinkedIn’s professional networking business.
3. Watch your friends
If your friends are anything like mine, they still don’t understand that I don’t want those photos from that party two years ago tagged and published to my timeline. Make sure that your permissions are set so that friends can’t ruin your reputation. You never know when a post may be sitting on your wall for a week while you’re out of town.
4. Know your visibility
Every post you make can be published to (1) just you, (2) just certain friends, (3) all your friends, or (4) the public. Facebook allows you to set your default visibility and modify each post’s visibility individually. If you’re going to use Facebook as a personal communication tool and a professional branding tool, you’ll need to be very careful about your posts’ visibility.
5. Expand and continue the conversation
The nice thing about Facebook is that it allows for more complete conversations than Twitter does. This allows you to invest more text in building your personal brand, and allows more friends, colleagues, and professional contacts to engage you online. While I love Twitter, I find it hard to thoroughly explain my position on anything serious.
6. Share from other networks
Facebook’s timeline has become a bit of a catch-all for my social media accounts. My Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram accounts all dump content onto Facebook, which adds to my personal branding efforts on the network. It’s unlikely that an employer is going to look for every one of your social networks, so sending all relevant updates to Facebook takes the work out of it…assuming your updates are something that won’t harm your reputation.
As with all your social channels, keep your Facebook profile mostly professional, but don’t be afraid to show that you’re a real person. Have a little fun, let your personality shine through, and enjoy it!