Using Facebook Privacy Controls on your Friends List

“But I don’t want strangers to see my kids/personal life.”  

Maybe this sounds like something you’ve said. Girl, I hear you. No one needs to see my inner rage voice on Facebook.  But here’s the thing…  if you are in direct sales, you rely on your warm network for business and growth. So hey, let’s make that warm network as big as possible! In this article, I will be outlining why you should accept friend requests from anyone who wants to be friends (assuming they’re not gross spammers), and then how to control the privacy of what all those new friends see on your personal Facebook profile.

Why you want to be Facebook “friends” with everyone.

In the nature of direct sales, our personal and business lives become naturally blurred. We become Facebook friends with upline, downline, sidelines, peers, consultants from other brands, prospects, hostesses, customers, vendor event coordinators, online marketers, and many other “non personal life people.” I recommend formalizing this as part of your warm market strategy. Meaning, encourage people to friend you. Because frankly, if someone wants to friend me, it’s saving me the hassle of having to go find them! They are now part of my warm market, and I can offer glimpses of my personal life, build rapport, get to know them, and “keep them warm” so that when there is a business-related opportunity, they are more likely to remember me, remember that I’m the funny lady who posts quippy things my kids said, funny things my husband did, and remember that we are friends. And who do we do business with? Our friends – people that we know, like, and trust. Accepting friend requests allows me to control the content of what I want my warm market to see, and curate the perception of who I am as a direct seller, friend, and person. I can offer glimpses of my life that might not otherwise be visible on my business profiles.

How to control what people see on Facebook.

Facebook offers privacy controls on your friend list, using the Custom Lists function. There are two levels:  basic and advanced. Chances are you are already familiar with this, or maybe even are already using it.

Setting Someone as Acquaintance

The acquaintance function is an exclusive list. If someone is marked as an acquaintance, you can “exclude” them from seeing content, whether on your personal wall, or in their own newsfeed. This is a great options for those who aren’t in your personal circle. Mark all your business contacts as acquaintances, and they won’t see personal content you don’t want them to see.
How:
Go to your friend list, and choose the friend you wish to mark as an acquaintance. From the dropdown list, choose acquaintance. They will now appear with a checkmark.
Now, when you write a new personal post, you will choose Friends Except Acquaintances as the privacy setting for that post.

Adding Someone to a Custom List

Custom lists are an advanced level of privacy control, and a great way to specifically target a message to subsets of your friend list. Unlike the acquaintance setting, custom lists are inclusive lists. Meaning, when someone is added to a specific list, you can target your message to only those that are on that list.
How:
Go to your friend list. Choose the friend you wish to add to a list. Choose “Add to another list.” You will see some pre-defined lists provided by Facebook (indicated with a lightening bolt). If you scroll to the bottom of the lists, you will see “New List.” Create the name of your new list.
List ideas:
  • Hostesses
  • Customers
  • Locals
  • Prospects
  • Team or brand members
  • Men (great for targeting gift messages)
Now when you write a new personal post, you will choose your specific list from the dropdown list, as the privacy setting for that post. The only major limitation is that you cannot post to multiple lists at the same time. So if you want to target both Hostesses and Prospects, you’d have to post twice (and hopefully ensure that people aren’t seeing the same content twice). You’ll notice there is also a “Restricted” list provided by default. Putting someone into this list means they will only see your content if the privacy setting is public (meaning, they would have seen it anyway if you weren’t already friends.)

So what does this all mean?

You can be friends with everyone! You can encourage your business connections to friend you, so they continue to stay warm. You can actively like or comment on their content, and post content that would help them get to know you. And you can still control exactly what they see. Attraction marketing is all about drawing people toward you with your message, your content, your personal voice. And Facebook gives us the tools to do just that!
Interested in learning more free social marketing tips for direct sellers? Come on over to The Socialite Suite on Facebook! And if we’re not friends yet, feel free to send me a friend request!

About Brenda Ster

Brenda Ster is a former technology executive, college professor, and direct seller, and now runs her own consulting and training agency teaching social strategies to direct sellers and solopreneurs. You can find her online @SuiteBrenda, and in her free social media tips community on Facebook, The Socialite Suite.

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