Save Your Facebook Friends By Setting Boundaries for Politics and Heated Issues

Election season is upon us and during this time political discussions heat up. I met with a networking group this morning and the topic of Facebook came up. Business owners are concerned that the opinions they post on their personal profile may affect not only their friends’ perception but their customers’ perception of them too.

They should be worried! A new study by Pew Internet & American Life Project made headlines in the Global Post, on March 14, 2012,revealed that 10% of people unfriend on Facebook due to contrary political beliefs.

So how can business people handle Facebook posts so they don’t offend or cause unfriending?

Choose One- Profile or Business Page?  Facebook is all about boundaries starting with who you “friend” and where – on your personal profile or on your business page. It’s important to decide how you want to “friend” business associates and some experts say its’ safer to connect with these contacts on your business page. If you think this doesn’t work, you need to check out Elmer Laydon on Facebook who has 1600+ followers on his personal page (he only friends people he knows) and more than 300,000 followers on his business page The Whisper of God.  

Set Your Boundaries.  Some people can’t decide, so allow anyone who “Likes” them on Facebook to be their “friend.” However, if you don’t want business associates who are “friends” to see political or religious discussions on Facebook, then click the public link below your post and select which group of “friends” will see your post.  Yes, before you can do that you need to visit each of your friends’ profiles, click the blue friends button (it’s on the top right of the profile screen), and commit each person to a friends’ list.

Set Your Limits. It’s funny how sensitive conversations about politics, religion, sex, etc. fare better in person than a curt remark on Facebook. Like email, Facebook doesn’t fully express the tone of the content and sometimes context is lost for the reader. That’s why having limits to what you post is a smart idea. If you’re concerned about how the comment will be “read”, then don’t say it. Remember too what you say has a very wide audience– when you comment on someone else’s post or photo, your “friends” and all their “friends” will see what you wrote.

Regardless of your political views, Facebook is a savvy way to expand your business’s web audience. Contact me if you want Facebook to work in harmony with your website or blog marketing.

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