A recent study by Comscore, the Internet information provider, indicates that over 20% web users have visited Facebook in December 2008. Comscore has also noted a gradual demographic shift from college students to professionals aged 35 years or older in the number of Facebook users. Majority of these users are using Facebook for professional and business networking.
Facebook is blooming into a platform to conduct business deals and professional meetings. Hundreds of professional Facebook groups are created every day for online marketing and customer-centric public relations campaigns. The line between social and professional networking is slowly blurring.
If you’re planning to use Facebook platform for professional networking, follow the 7 steps outlined below to separate your Facebook social life from the work life in the virtual world.
1. Create a professional profile. This is your second resume. Use resume writing techniques to polish up your existing Facebook profile. List your expertise and accomplishments in the “Write something about yourself” section. Uncheck everything in the “Looking for” section except Networking.
2. Use business related information in the Personal Information section, including the business book that you have recently read, some quotes from top business leaders in your field, your favorite business related TV show , and business magazines that you frequently read.
3. In the About Me sub-section of the Personal Information section, elaborate on your past achievements and list skills that you used in the past to solve business problems.
4. Remove all beer drinking pictures with your college buddies and fun poking applications from your profile. If you were a speaker in some seminar and you have pictures, upload them to your profile. If you have pictures with business leaders or intellectuals in your professional field use those pictures instead of your spring break surfing pictures unless you are looking for networking with surfing professionals.
5. If you want to keep your Facebook social life, create a second profile for your work life. People who are migrating from college life to professional career will find it beneficial to keep the two profiles separate so that they can poke their college buddies and make business deals at the same time using the Facebook platform.
6. Start reading and publishing contents related to your industry in various online magazines and post links to interesting and informative online contents and tools in Facebook status. If you already have a blog, publish your blog RSS field in Facebook’s My Notes.
7. Select only a few dozen friends and keep in contact with them using Facebook email and chat. Check out the Facebook group they subscribe to and join those groups. Post thought provoking comments in those groups to make yourself more visible. Help others by offering solutions to their problems.
The important thing to keep in mind is that whatever you share in your Facebook account, it is visible to everybody in your network. So be careful about how you professionally project yourself to the world while using Facebook. While there are dedicated professional networking sites like LinkedIn, you can still use Facebook for establishing professional relationship and conducting business deals.