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TMI?! What your clients see on your personal Facebook profile and how to control it.

Marketing your small business is a tough job;

my job is to make it a little easier.

Hey, let's face it. Today it's easier than ever to get details online about people and companies. Potential clients search social media channels to learn more about you and your company, and even decide if they want to do business with you. When you are in the process of developing a brand identity, whether on your own or using a marketing agency, much of your personal social media content can be easily found. While the world being "connected" has its benefits, there are some drawbacks.

The good, the bad, and the "I can't believe you posted that!"

You've seen it: a post rolling down your newsfeed that you simply despise. You may comment, get in a Facebook war, unfriend the perpetrator, or simply roll on by . . . . but you do one more thing. You make a judgment. In that abacus in your head, you move a bead (fun fact about the abacus: the upper row of beads are called heavenly beads, while those on the lower row are earthly beads), and so does everyone else. Even if the content was completely unrelated to business, you now hold an opinion where one may not have existed before about the person or company that shared the offensive post. I'm here today to help you not be on the receiving end of that scenario.

While you may feel that the content on your personal profile is perfectly fine, sometimes it doesn't take much to send your viewers sideways. You have to ask yourself, is that political post or raunchy joke worth the risk? Most small business owners keep their personal profile completely private and separate from their business's page, at least as best they can. Others don't mind, and actually want their personal profile wide open for all to see. Whichever you choose, you need to know how to set your privacy settings to deliver the information you want to the audience you want seeing it.

Privacy and how to control it.

Privacy is tough to monitor and control, but you can do some things to help keep much of your personal life private if you choose. Facebook has a robust section on privacy that can be a bit dizzying, but a privacy checkup is worth the time. Some of the menus are a bit obscure, while others are written for the laymen so anyone can use them . . . if you know where to look. There are 3 spots where you can control privacy in your Facebook account.

1. Post audience. By clicking the drop down menu next to the post button, you can control the audience of your current post and any that follow. Whatever changes you make will become the new default settings.


2. Privacy checkup shortcut tool. This simple window gives you a quick question & answer menu to change your privacy settings.


3. Main privacy control window. This section allows you to control who can contact you, who can see your posts and who can look you up. In this window you also can change in bulk the privacy of old posts, but be careful: this change is irreversible. Well, let me clarify. If you change your mind, you can go back and re-adjust privacy settings on your old posts, but you'll have to do it individually and manually

for each specific post.

If you decide you want to change the privacy of your old posts, you can click the corresponding section and end up with this information:

You can also select the timeline review method here in the main window.

What this does is make it so you must first approve each post or pic you're tagged in before it can go live on your timeline. Now, when one of your friends takes a snapshot of you having way too much fun on a Friday night, it will show on their timeline but appear on yours only when - and if - you allow it. See below:

Simply clicking the top right drop down arrow will give you this view. Click on your activity log below to be taken to the confirmation screen, where you can then decide what goes live on your timeline and what does not.


So why does it matter?

According to a CareerBuilder's survey in Q1 2016, 52% of employers look at social media when considering candidates. Despite the fact that you may be self employed, people still use social media to get a real glimpse on whom they are doing business with, especially when it's a one-person business. The last thing you want is a photo from last weekend ruining a business opportunity for you!

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