Why You Should Not Use Your Facebook Personal Timeline Primarily for Business

Lisa Sullivan Friends

Image above of me and my friends at a recent baby shower for one of them. Good times!

Maybe I’m in the minority here but I highly doubt it as the social network has over 1 Billion registered users.

Think about that for a second. One BILLION users.

You know why users are on the platform, primarily? Here’s a reality check – NOT for business. While the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is the 45-54 age bracket, chances are most of those folks are on the platform to stay in touch with family & friends (anyone got a newborn grandchild recently?) Not to mention, the most common user demographic is actually people ages 25-34. I venture to guess they’re not all talking business either. Yet, despite the statistics, every day I continue to see people (some of them “friends” even) who utilize their personal Timeline as their springboard for business…and it drives me nuts.

First and foremost, the official Facebook TOS clearly states –

“You will not use your personal timeline primarily for your own commercial gain, and will use a Facebook Page for such purposes.” (Section 4.4)

Let’s take a trip back in time for a second. Facebook was never created to be a connector for business to business (B2B, as it’s more commonly known); it was created to connect person to person and it did so with individual profiles. Then, the developers decided to give their users the opportunity to create Pages for their business, causes they supported, celebrities they were great fans of, etc. When that exploded, the Facebook gods stepped back and said, “Woah! We have something here. If businesses….that make money….are using our site to promote themselves, we’ve gotta set some guidelines so they’re not doing too much of that for free.” Thus, Timeline for Pages with limited free options, but that which Facebook clearly wants businesses to use…even if you’re a one-man (or one-woman) show.

You can’t blame them. They saw an opportunity to make money and so they decided to give business owners the ability to use Pages while providing restrictions so that if they want to reach a wider audience, they need to “buy in” to that. Translation – advertise. Now, we could get into a whole discussion about how they could do that better. Trust me, I know. But, that’s not the point of this post. So, let’s circle back.

“When 80% of the time on your Personal Timeline it’s “all business”, you have just turned off and repulsed that friend, quite honestly”

The second and primary reason you should not be using your Facebook Timeline primarily for business purposes is the obvious one – your “friend” accepted your Friend Request…not to do business with you, but because they truly like you as a Friend. When you change up your cover photo to be your business, when you post about a special you are having for your product or a service you are performing for a client, and most importantly, when 80% of the time on your Personal Timeline it’s “all business”, you have just turned off and repulsed that friend, quite honestly.

Now, some folks might just delete you and you might never know it until suddenly you realized you stopped seeing pictures of their family or latest vacation they took (and you KNOW they went on one). Others, will completely block you so that you can no longer send a Friend Request to them or keep you around, but put you on a list of say “restricted” friends, the ones that only so some updates from you. Others, use what I like to call the “tune out” method where they tune out some or all of your status updates.

There are two ways to tune someone out. The most common way is to go to their Timeline, mouse over the word “Friends” just below their Cover Photo, click Settings and make the changes you desire. The other way is to mouse over their name (when it pops up) in your News Feed, mouse over the word “Friends” when it comes up, click Settings and make your changes. I am guilty of this method for those that annoy me. I gotta say.

The point is – the majority of us are on the platform to stay connected with you…as a PERSON; not as a business connection. While we understand you “do business” and there are times when you want to share something business related, that’s fine. All we ask is you do so minimally.

NC State Fair 2012 Lisa Sullivan All Rights Reserved

Here’s a cool Cover Photo that would represent me. Love me some NC State Fair!

And for goodness sake, change your Cover Photo to a picture that represents you…as a PERSON. Took a fantastic picture of the sunset in your neighborhood, a vacation photo of the ocean waves, the rides at the State Fair, whatever. Share THAT; not your business location, your logo, the client who’s hair you just cut or who just bought that new car. That’s not YOU. That’s your business.

The easiest way to get unfriended is to do something that gives your “friends” the heebie-jeebies, makes them shake their heads in disappointment, etc. Hopefully, you get the point.

If you want to “do business” on your Timeline, do so sparingly and please don’t make it sound like an advertisement either. That will almost assuredly get you unfriended too.

As a matter of fact, here’s a GREAT article with similar insights on this very topic released just yesterday via Forbes. I share this so that you don’t think I’m a crazy person about this whole Personal Timeline for business thing. 😉

What do you think? Have you unfriended someone or “tuned them out” because they are more business and less personal on their Timelines? Would love your thoughts. Please comment below.

A NOTE about comments: all comments are moderated. If you choose to be negative, nasty or downright derogatory in your comment, it doesn’t get approved. I only accept rational objective commentary. Want to be negative? You can start your own blog. Thank you!

Image of the North Carolina State Fair by Lisa Sullivan. Copyright 2012. All Rights Reserved.


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