Facebook for Consultants and Coaches: I am Rethinking My Approach

Facebook in coffee


The standard advice, and the Facebook terms of service, go like this: You use Facebook Pages for your business and Profiles for your personal life. And that’s pretty much what I have done historically, rarely cross-posting between the two.

But does that really work for sole proprietors or “personality driven” shops?

For many of us, part of our marketing appeal is the personal touch. Our marketing needs to allow prospects and clients to connect with us as real individuals who can help them in direct, one-to-one ways. I find this to be especially true in the nonprofit world.

Profiles feel like a much better way than Pages to do that kind of relationship building on Facebook. Not to mention the drop in organic reach for many Pages.

I’ve been lurking around in other consulting circles outside the nonprofit world, especially for freelancers and coaches, and I see many people using their Profiles more successfully than their Pages (if they have a Page at all). This also seems to work well for creatives.

Let’s cue the buts . . .

But you can only have 5,000 friends. Only? I don’t know about you, but that leaves me plenty of room for potential clients.

But you have to approve all those people. Not exactly. People can “follow” you without “friending” you. The difference is that followers only see posts that you tag as “public.”

I just turned this feature on myself today.  Go to Settings, then click on Followers in the left sidebar. Change the settings to Everybody.

You can also “view as public” to see what non-friends see. My public profile needs serious work if I am going to use my profile for business, as it’s mostly gardening and family content right now. You cannot tell what I do for a living.

I also had a bunch of “About Me” info inadvertently set to “Friends” — including my company name and website (doh!), so I changed several of those items to “Public.”

Something else I just learned: Anyone you don’t accept as a friend automatically becomes a follower.

But you will share too much personal info with strangers. What about your kids’ privacy?? Not if you manage it carefully.  At the most basic level, you need to remember with every post you make to select either Friends or Public for “who can see this.” It does default to your last selection, so you have to get into the habit of looking at it every single time.

But using a Profile this way, not everyone is a real friend. You’ll end up friending a lot of strangers. So I am also going to use lists more religiously.

Honestly, I needed to do this as my kids reach tween/teen stage anyway, as they are much more sensitive about who sees what about them, even within our personal circles, let alone my professional ones.

When I first set up some lists years ago, I created too many different ones and promptly abandoned them. I think I will go with three lists (four if you count public). This is really based on level of personal comfort and trust with each person. (Tips on this here and here.)

  • Close Friends. A tight list of very close family and friends who I enjoy with all my heart, from both my personal and professional lives. These are the people I could call at all times of day or night if I needed to. These people know my kids’ names, and the kids would know many of the people in this group at least by name.
  • Inner Circle. People who I really like or trust or admire, even if we aren’t BFFs. Always happy to hear from them, or run into them, and I’m fairly certain the feeling is mutual.
  • Acquaintances. Everyone else who is on the Friends list.
  • Public. Wide open to the world.

But what about the Page? Yeah, we’ll still do that too. But the Page is responsible for most of the hate in my love-hate relationship with Facebook. In any case, it needs some attention too. We’ll use it primarily for the training part of the business.

But isn’t this more work? Yes, but hello, good marketing is work. I use Facebook more than any other social network (despite my love-hate relationship with it.) I have hundreds of friends (probably the majority actually) who fall into the category of people who only know me through my work. It makes sense to take the time to customize the content I create for these different groups of people.

So what do you think? How do you use your Personal Profile for business? Please share your perspective in the comments. I especially would love to hear from those of you creating content with different lists, or the Friends v. Public Followers, in mind. 

P.S. Here’s the best article I found on this topic: 10 Ways to Use Your Personal Facebook Profile for Business

  • http://www.moflow.ca/ Marlene Oliveira

    Thank you for this, Kivi! The point I’m wondering about has to do with Facebook ads. I’ve experimented with them (not much) but since you need a Page to run them, that seems to be a vote in favour of Pages for businesses, no? If you’re using both for business, I suppose you’re covered?

    • http://www.nonprofitmarketingguide.com/blog Kivi Leroux Miller

      Hi Marlene — Definitely yes on the Page for ads. My current thinking is to use the Page and ads, promoted/sponsored posts for list building and paid products on the lower end of the price scale.

      • http://www.moflow.ca/ Marlene Oliveira

        Great to know! Thanks!