I was starting to accept that my Facebook personal life would careen into my business life.  Though I’ve worked hard to keep my personal and business lives separate, my use of “Friends only” in my privacy settings was starting to lose its effectiveness.  I fell into awkward ground this past July when I started to manage corporate Facebook fan pages on behalf of clients.

To manage a clients’ page, I have to be befriend the administrator on Facebook.

The reverse holds true as well.  For me to provide administrative rights back to clients for pages I’d set up, I can not do this until we are “friends”.  And though I do truly like all my clients, having instant deep friendship presents its awkward moments.

But there is a fix for all this.  You can add your business connections to Facebook and keep your privacy too.

As heavy social networker, I definitely use Facebook to hold pieces of my personal life.  I mostly connect with friends and family, and a number former colleagues with whom I share a healthy, personal respect for.  Like many people, Facebook holds my wedding photos, major milestones my children’s lives and really bad high school pictures.  I’ve even used Facebook to reunite my 14 cousins through a group and there within we share all our vintage photos of our mutual grandparents.

But there is a fix for all this.

There is a little known Facebook feature called a limited profile that can provide greater privacy.

Creating limited profiles and managing them is not intuitive so up till now I’ve added people to my limited profile but have not specified what this limited profile can and can not see.  And worth noting is that if you do not take an extra step to exclude your limited profile from key information, then your ‘limited profile’ friends see just as much as your regular ones.

As my business keeps creeping in on my personal life, and local politicians want to become ‘friends’, I decided to master this feature.

Here are a the steps:

First assign a friend to the limited profile list.

You can do this one of two ways:

  1. When you accept the friendship of someone, you have an option to add them to a list.  There will be a Facebook added list name (or tag) called ‘limited profile’.
  2. Alternatively, you can go into your ‘friends’ section and choose ‘limited profile’, a menu pick on the left hand side, and then add friends to this list.

With a list of limited profile chosen people – you then need to identify what this list will NOT see in your Facebook profile.  Remember, the default is that they can see everything your friends see until you specify what they can not see.

Indicate which profile sections are excluded from your limited profile.

In Settings (top right hand corner), choose privacy settings.

Customize limited profile Among your privacy settings, choose “profile”.  Under ‘basic’, you will see a number of sections of your profile.

Using the pull down menu, choose ‘customize’.    [that was always the menu pick that trumped me .. it was not obvious that I had to customize to specify limited profile]

You will get a little popup box asking who can see this section.  Go to the red “except these people” section and start typing “limited profile”.

Exeception limited profile

The information you may want to hold dear are:

*  Status and links
*  Some photos tagged of me
*  Some photo albums
*  Videos tagged about me

Note – you can also exclude your limited profile list from contact information section too. Just follow the same logic as above.

And voila!  You now can mix some business with pleasure on Facebook.

Do note:  For those who want to delve deeper into Facebook privacy, I found an excellent blog post about this a while back called 10 privacy settings every Facebook user should know by Nick O’Neill.

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Laurie Dillon-Schalk is the Chief Marketing Strategist and founder of Social Wisdom – a Toronto based digital marketing agency that helps firms and individuals use social media and the web wisely.

You can find Laurie on Twitter at twitter.com/Ldillonschalk or on her blog at Socialwisdom.ca