Is Facebook appropriate for business?

Could you imagine a lawyer or accountant using Facebook to engage with their publics?  No, unless they are catering to a rather young set, this would be the received wisdom.

Personally I have not historically been a fan of Facebook.  It is a bit, well, it’s for kids isn’t it and other people with hands on their time?  I never really took to the platform and I never bothered.

Of course for B2C products and services it is rather more promising.  Unfortunately my work is nearly all B2B – PR for men and not boys – actually happy to receive inquiries from B2C businesses.

So does Facebook have a role for those that do not run B2C campaigns?

I think it can.  I have been using it more recently and although I prefer Twitter and LinkedIn to help my clients craft their communications, Facebook can have a role, for me at least.

Your clients are your sales team, if you do your work well.

But your friends can also take up that role, if only occasionally.  With a Twitter app pulling through content it is possible to give your friends more of an idea about what you do.  They might have a vague idea, but if they become more familiar with your enterprise, well.

The other thing is that Facebook builds up relationships, which is what social media is all about.

Some friends on Facebook will not know you as well as an old school friend, so there is the opportunity to talk and get to know each other.  Sometimes small talk and fun is the best way for friendship, for work.

Now I know what you are thinking: it is all a bit mercenary.

I wrote a little time ago that the boundaries between work and the personal life are disintegrating.  I am not happy about it.  Yet where does your personal life stop and your business life begin?  Mmmmm

So where before I refused requests from business contacts into my Facebook arena, now I am minded to accept.

There is the ever present danger of not looking professional or exhibiting an opinion that is not for professional consumption although my Facebook pages are not really controversial.

The thing about social media is that it is like water: you can contain it for some time, but if it wants to break a barrier, social media will and can.

Don’t get me wrong I will continue to use Facebook for friends and it is not a business tool primarily.  I will just occasionally mention my work – I have anyway given in to trying to stop the tide.

Postscript

Toprankblog has a good little entry on using Facebook more effectively for business – take a look.