I’ve had a Facebook account for a while now and have found it to be a terrific way to stay in touch with friends, clients, and other artists. It’s also a great way to meet new people and make stronger connections in the industry. While there’s no substitute for personal one-on-one relationships, Facebook makes it possible for me to stay connected to more people in more ways than I could ever do offline.
As great as Facebook is, there’s one drawback: It’s too easy for my personal and professional life to get blurred. All of my connections are lumped into one big network. My family photos and personal comments to friends are mixed in with blog updates and news about my business. In some ways that’s a good thing. Certain clients and colleagues may appreciate getting to know me on a more personal level. But I have a strong suspicion that others could care less about my personal hobbies or what happened on my vacation. From a marketing standpoint I walk a tricky line on Facebook. Often when I post something personal I catch myself asking, “How might this make me look to a potential client?” Whether that’s a good thing for me to worry about or not is another subject, but it’s one of the realities of being a small business owner in the age of social networking.
So I’m trying an experiment. Facebook has a feature called “Pages” that lets you create a page devoted solely to your business. Large companies like Coca-Cola and Disney use them in an attempt to create a community around their brand and to connect with their customers. But thousands of small business owners also use them to have a more professional presence on Facebook while building a more personal connection with thier clients.
So I’ve created a Facebook page for my illustration business to see if I can’t take better advantage of what Facebook has to offer. For starters the page has samples from my portfolio, my latest blog posts, and a couple of links I’ve found interesting. I’m planning to post news, my latest work, and links I think potential clients or other colleagues will enjoy or find helpful. I’ll also be running a fun contest soon (both here and on the Facebook page) so stay tuned for that. To follow my Facebook page just click on the “Become a Fan” link under my photo.
I’m still trying to figure out exactly where the dividing line will be between my personal and professiona life on Facebook, but I’m having a Page devoted solely to my freelance business should go a long way towards helping me make the best of both worlds.
Any thoughts? Feel free to leave a comment below.