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Using Facebook for Personal Business Profiles

Social Sonar - Saturday, July 30, 2011

Those Facebook fan pages sure are fun for restaurants, day spas and personal trainers. They can publish a daily special or advertise how well a client is doing with their weight loss. Facebook fan pages aren't for you, right? You are a professional -- an attorney, a doctor, an accountant. You put a suit on to go to work every day. Facebook is fun for sending pictures of your kids to your mom, but it is not for your business contacts. Or is it?

Facebook has 700 million users. I bet most of your business contacts have an account.

By night, I may be a blog-writing extraordinaire (or so I tell myself). By day, however, I am a litigation secretary, paralegal, and general admin to an attorney who practices in the insurance coverage industry. No, we don't do insurance defense, hired by insurance companies to represent car accident victims. We the represent insurance companies, who may be fighting with other insurance companies about coverage for said car accident victim -- a level above, so to speak. I know -- who knew that a wild pole dancing, blog-writing, social networker would have a real day job, right?!

Perhaps in our very specific and specialized field of law, a Facebook fan page is not essential. Our clients are generally large companies, so we deal with many faces in any given company. There is never one single person making decisions about cases -- from handing the work to us to signing off on a settlement. However, if we did personal injury and any Tom, Dick or Harry walking down the street was a potential client, a fan page might be something to consider.

I also don't think that a fan page would hurt our company. I "Google" pretty much everyone and everything. When I hire employees, I absolutely put their name into a search engine to see what comes up. I hardly believe I am the only potential employer doing this. So if someone decided to search for my boss' name or our law firm, I don't believe it would hurt to have as much of a positive presence on the internet as possible. .

I believe that a fan page can be beneficial to the internet-savvy professional, as long as it is managed properly. You want to make sure that your personal Facebook page has some distinguishing factor to keep it from being linked to your professional page. You certainly do not want the tagged photos from your drunken night out with friends to come up when people search for "Thomas W. Smith, Esq." Maybe you are Tom Smith professionally. However, why not be Tommy Smith privately? Sure, it might make it harder for your best friend from first grade to find you, but it might save you a headache in the long run. Even better, ask your friends not to post those photos -- what happens on Facebook, stays on Facebook...forever.

Having a website and/or Facebook page is becoming more and more common for businesses. It is almost as if you are not a valid company if you do not have some kind of presence on the internet. If your potential client searches your name, make sure you are controlling as much of the information released as possible. This is where Social Sonar comes into play. If you do not understand how social networking works, or think that just because you are not on Facebook, you are not being affected -- think again. Anyone can put any kind of information on the internet that they would like. Keeping up with the social media is important -- even in the professional setting!

lolorashel lives in the bay area, where she tweets, posts, and twirls about Twirly Girl Pole Fitness: women of all shapes, sizes and abilities can flourish, get their sweat on and still feel sexy!

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