Thursday, August 11, 2011

Friends with Business Etiquette

By Katy Fincham

In a recent national study, The Creative Group found that nearly half of all advertising and marketing executives use Facebook for business purposes; and one out of five Facebook friends are work related.

While social media continues to evolve, I find myself wondering how to best use my own personal networking sites, i.e. Facebook and Twitter. When I first joined Facebook, I used it as a way to simply keep in touch with former classmates and family members. While I still use Facebook to socialize and Twitter to keep up on the latest sporting news and celebrity gossip, I’ve found that I have increasingly started to add “friends” and follow more work related, industry professionals to my list.

The Creative Group offers five simple tips for Facebook business etiquette:

1. Divide and conquer. Not everyone in your social network needs to know about your Friday dinner plans or musings on the latest blockbuster movie. Segment your friend lists so professional contacts aren't inundated with updates they wouldn't want to -- or shouldn't -- see. Also check your privacy settings to control who has access to what information.

2. Be a guru. Share nuggets of useful information with your business contacts, and offer advice when they ask for recommendations or ideas.

3. Give and you shall receive. Be generous with your contacts by offering to make introductions or sharing useful information they post with your own network.

4. Use photo features. Even if you maintain a personal website or digital portfolio, you can provide your online contacts with a snapshot of your latest professional project or even your entire body of work. Creating albums on Flickr or Facebook, or using Twitpic or similar photo-sharing tools, is an easy way to visually show potential clients or employers your career accomplishments and showcase new skills.

5. Resist the urge to rant. Never say anything disparaging about your current or former company, coworkers, clients or other business contacts. You never know who might see your comments and forward them on.

It still amazes me how much a site like Facebook evolved over the past five years, from being an exclusive network for college students, to becoming a world-wide leader in business networking and industry advancement. How many of your friends are work-related?? The answer might surprise you…

Katy Fincham is an Associate Account Executive at Maroon PR. Contact her at

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