Facebook – Part Two: Best Practices for Creative People

by Liisa Kyle, Ph.D. on 08/04/2010

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In the previous article on this topic, we outlined the costs and benefits of Facebook for creative people.  Today will be the first of two articles that describe Best Practices — written especially for creative people who haven’t yet taken the Facebook plunge, those new to Facebook and those who aren’t using Facebook to their full advantage.  We’ll start with the basics.  Part Three will cover more advance techniques.

Best Practices – Facebook Tips for Creative People

1.  Decide how you want to use Facebook, personally and professionally.

Are you looking to keep in touch with a few trusted friends…or are you seeking to maximize your personal and professional network?  Take a moment to decide exactly what you want to accomplish on or through FB.

2.  Set your profile information accordingly.

You do not have to fill in every bit of information in the various forms and blank spaces provided.  It’s better to ignore what Facebook suggests and to instead decide what info you do want to share, then share only that. For example, you can write whatever you want in the ‘bio’ section of your profile and leave the rest blank.

3. Set your privacy settings accordingly.

It’s worth taking the time to ‘customize’ all your privacy settings to meet your personal and professional goals.  If the notion of doing this drives you crackers or is overwhelming, ask a techie friend to walk you through the process — or to set things up on your behalf.

Note that this requires more than just going to the ‘Privacy Settings’ and setting them up accordingly. In terms of Best Practices, you must also go your ‘Account Settings’ and change the default settings on the tab marked ‘Facebook Ads’.  Otherwise, you are inadvertently endorsing things and sharing information about yourself on thousands of Facebook Ads.  To change this, go to ‘My Account’ and click on the ‘Facebook Ads’ tab.  There will be a box that says “Allow ads on platform pages to show my information to:”  Change the setting to ‘No one’.  Scroll down to the bottom of the page to the box that says “Show my social actions in Facebook Ads to:  ‘Change the setting to ‘No one’.

4.  Gather ‘friends’ accordingly.

Send ‘friend requests’ to the people with whom you want to connect.  With whom do you want to give and receive information?  You’ll probably start with your bestest buddies, then consider additional options — family members, acquaintances or colleagues, people from your past and so forth.

There are many Best Practices to gathering your FB friends.

The biggest tip I can share is this:  Unless you want to irritate your friends and colleagues for a very long time, AVOID submitting any of their email addresses into Facebook’s ‘Find Your Friends’ form.  When you do so, FB generates not ONE but MANY, MANY automatic invitations to your friends to join Facebook.  Unbeknownst to you, every month or so, your friends and colleagues will receive an email that looks like it’s a direct invitation from you to join FB. Few will enjoy this barage and wonder why you’re being Pushy McPush when they’ve already told you they’re not interested.

So how best to find your (real) friends and colleagues on FB?  Start with the folks with the most unusual names.  (Why? Because they are much easier to find.  I’m still trying to locate my pal ‘Dave Adams’ from among the 5,200 Dave Adams listings).  One at a time, type their names into the ‘search’ bar.  When you find the right person, send a ‘friend request’ and search through their ‘friend list’.  Odds are you’ll know people they know.  Repeat until you’ve found everyone.  If you can’t find someone you’re seeking, another way you might try is to type their email address into the ‘search’ bar.   (If only I had a valid email for Dave Adams, but alas I don’t).   Finally, for those people you still can’t find, you can send an email with a link to your FB profile and ask them to send you a friend request.   (Of course, not everyone is on FB and not everyone wants to be, so be sure to write your email as an invitation, rather than as a demand.  “I’m just getting started on FB.  Do you use it?  If so, I’d love to connect.  I tried to find you but failed — if you’re amenable, feel free to click on my profile [insert link] and send me a ‘friend request’.  Thanks!)

5.  Accept ‘friends’ accordingly.

When you receive ‘friend requests’, you don’t necessarily have to ‘confirm’.  If you have no idea who the person is or why they’re trying to ‘friend’ you, you can send them a message to ask them why.

Note:  until you ‘confirm’ or ‘ignore’ a friend request, they are receiving your posts in their News Feed.  If you don’t want someone to receive your posts, click on the ‘ignore’ button of their friend request.

6. Post information prudently.

Play nicely.  Apply the Facebook version of the Golden Rule:  “post unto others as you would have others post unto you.”

Remember that everything you post on Facebook is public.  Like everything else in cyberspace, once posted the information NEVER goes away.  Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want to see on a billboard a block from your mom’s home.

When you’d like to respond to someone else’s post, consider if it makes more sense to ‘comment’ or to message the person privately — or to shift the conversation off FB entirely.  Most work conversations are better held via phone, email or in person.

7. Protect your creative works’ copyrights.

Rather than posting your work directly on Facebook, post it on your own website to retain your copyrights.  You can then post links to your work on your FB profile.

8.  Don’t get caught up in the numbers.

No one is certain why certain posts get more comments or ‘likes’ than another but it has more to do with what else is happening in your FB friends’ lives than anything to do with you.  There’s an awful lot happening on Facebook — and in the other aspects of people’s lives.  Don’t take it personally if no one responds to a particular post.

Same things goes for making FB friends:  send your ‘friend request’ and then forget about it.  If someone ignores your request — or takes a year to respond, so be it.  It could be they use Facebook only rarely.  They probably have other things going on in their lives.  They may have chosen to limit their FB friends to a very few people — or they may have already amassed 5000 friends, in which case they are prevented from adding any more.  Whatever is affecting their ‘friending’ behavior, it’s got nothing to do with you and it’s not worth spending a moment fretting over it.

9.  Tailor your News Feed to suit your needs.

Use the ‘Hide’ feature to remove unwanted information from your News Feed.  While reading your News Feed, if you mouse over a particular item, you will activate a ‘Hide’ button.  Click on it.  It will give you the opportunity to hide updates from a particular person OR program.  If you don’t want to read game updates, for example, you can ‘hide’ them.  If a particular person tends to share TMI, you can remove their comments from your new feed …and they’ll never know.  They’re still your friend –but you’ll spare yourself the twenty-some updates about their dental hygiene, cat hijinks or whatever else you’d rather not know.

10.  Obey the Facebook rules…or pay the price.

You can have only one personal profile.  (For example you can’t have a personal account set up for your ‘real’ friends and another one for your business colleagues).  If Facebook detects you have more than one personal profile, they will delete them all — as happened to several of my FB friends…who then lost every Facebook connection they had amassed to that point.

Avoid using your personal account as a business account.  Instead, once you set up one personal account, you can set up additional Facebook pages for different purposes — for example to promote your business or particular works.  Some artists set up a general ‘Fan’ page plus separate Facebook pages for each of their books/CDs/exhibitions.

11. Be aware that Facebook changes the way they operate constantly.

Without warning Facebook can change the default privacy settings and everything else about your profile.  Periodically, recheck your privacy settings and profile information to ensure it’s set up the way you want it to be.

12.  If you are easily distracted or prone to procrastination or information addiction, set limits on yourFacebook interactions.

Limit the amount of time you spend on line and/or limit the number of times you check in.  You could schedule particular times of the day for your Facebooking…or perhaps use ‘Facebook time’ as a reward for completing something that’s important to you.

In our next article in this series, we’ll discuss more advanced techniques and Best Practices to get the most out of Facebook, personally and professionally.

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