Facebook is a place to connect, share, and grow your personal and professional networks.
When you join Facebook, your first action is to create a profile by adding a profile picture, a small professional bio, a mixture of personal and professional photos, and some personal interests. After you build your profile Facebook will prompt you to connect with friends from your email database that are currently on Facebook. If you do not have a lot of contacts on Facebook then Facebook will walk you through how to invite your closest and most dear to join and become your friend. Finally, Facebook will look at information like your high school, college, city, and employer to connect you with individuals that you may have lost track of.
Everyone who accepts your friend requests goes into your friends list. As this list grows it becomes one big, unorganized, mishmash of potential. Luckily, Facebook allows you to bring order to your database by grouping your friends into lists. You can create lists for your childhood friends, family, co-workers, clients, strategic business partners, and so on and so forth. By creating lists to organize your Facebook friends you will be turning your social profile into a strategic social and business resource.
Important things to remember about organizing friends on Facebook:
- Start early, the longer you wait to create lists the more time it will take
- You can add friends to more than one friend list
- Friend lists should be treated like the categories and distribution lists in your contact management software
- Friend Lists can have specific privacy policies applied to them
Once you have designated your friend categories they can then be used to apply different privacy policies. For example, you may want your friends to see photos from the party you were at last night, but you don’t want your family or professional contacts to see those photos. When you announce work related updates and/or events you can send them to the contacts that will most appreciate that information, excluding friends and family who would rather see pictures of little Jonny’s soccer game.
As your friends list grows organizing them becomes a benefit for you and your contacts. For instance, if you travel quite a bit or belong to multiple networks and/or organizations you can categorize people by location (city, state, country), where you met them (conference, networking, organization), and your relationship with them (professional, family, social, etc).
By having a well structured contact lists you will not only be able to effectively communicate for yourself but also on the behalf of others. One of the best components to social networking is the support that the individuals within the network provide to one another. When you are able to help other business owners and professionals spread the word they will return that favor by helping you. Endorsement is the strongest most effective way that one networker can help another it can turn a random contact list into a strategic marketing list.
So, when you look at that growing list of Facebook friends and think where do I start? Just remember the time you spend now will pay for itself later. You have done this before look at your Outlook, contact management software, or email client for grouping ideas. You can configure your friend lists by visiting the friends area of your Facebook profile.
How do you keep your friends organized?