When I speak at events, I always start my keynote presentation by polling the room of financial professionals on what social media profile they are using. Of course, every hand is in the air for LinkedIn, but the surprising moment is when I ask about Facebook. The majority of hands (a bit reluctantly it seems) find their way up.
Because so many advisors are on Facebook, it is astonishing to me that education and awareness around Facebook privacy settings is rarely discussed. I’m assuming this is due to the amount of advisors who add the caveat, “My kid set up my profile, I just kind of stumble around with it.” It’s great that your kid can lend you a hand, but do you know what your profile is telling people? Are you conscious of what information is public to the entire world and what is exclusively shared with your ‘friends?’ Do you know what privacy and protections Facebook can provide for you?
Imagine that a potential client does a general web search of your city and your company, your title, or your specialties. Because you can list your work history, positions, and now your work skills, your personal Facebook profile can easily show up at the top of the list in search results.
Do you really want this prospect to be able to view photos of your children, see exactly who you are friends with, or read all of the comments friends have put on your timeline? It’s standard consumer behavior to research you before they visit you. Is their research putting a stop to this visit before it even happens because of an unprofessional presence on Facebook?
That is exactly why we have created this how-to guide for financial advisors to help you update your personal Facebook privacy settings.
Before we get started, I encourage you to do a quick audit of your profile. Facebook has a tool that allows you to view your profile as it appears to the public. This will allow you to determine if anything appears on your profile that you don’t want the general public, or any other user of your choice, to see.
- To do this, click on the little blue triangle dropdown menu all the way in the upper right hand corner of your Facebook page and select “Settings”.
- In the left hand column, select “Timeline and Tagging”.
- In the “Who can see things on my timeline?” section click the “View As” button next to “Review what other people see on your timeline”.
- From here you can audit your profile page for what content is secure and what content is visible. *Keep in mind that your cover photos, your current profile picture, and your name are always visible to the public.
Now that you are aware of the content on your profile that you want to make private, you can follow these simple instructions to secure your Facebook profile privacy.
1) Select the Audience for your Facebook Timeline
Information on your timeline includes your:
- Basic Information- Birthday, relationship status, religious views, etc.
– Contact Information- Phone number, email addresses, and websites.
– Work and Education- Past and present employers, positions, projects, and schools you have attended.
– Living- The city you currently live in and your hometown.
- To start, in the “About” section of your Facebook profile, select the “edit” button with the pencil next to the category that you want to update.
- Click on the dropdown menu next to the gear icon and choose an audience.
When selecting who sees your information, you have the following options to choose from:
- Public- anyone can see this content on your profile, even without being logged in. This setting is what makes your information unsecure.
- Friends- Only people you have accepted to be your Facebook friend can see this.
- Only Me- This is a private setting and no one else can see this content.
- Custom- This option allows you to select in more detail specific friends, networks, or any lists you have you created to see, or be excluded from, your content.
2) Select the Audience for the Posts You Share on Facebook
- To update who can see your posts and status updates, select the dropdown menu next to the gear icon to select your audience in the “Update Status” box.
When you select the security setting on one post, Facebook will continue to keep this setting on all of your posts until you change it again. Facebook has an excellent explanation of how this feature works: “This [audience selector] tool appears in multiple places, such as your privacy shortcuts and privacy settings. When you make a change to the audience selector tool in one place, the change updates the tool everywhere it appears.” (more info)
- You can also update the privacy setting on a post that you have already shared on your timeline.
3) Select the Audience for Posts your Friends Share on Your Timeline
- Click on the little blue triangle dropdown menu in the very upper right hand corner of your Facebook page and select “Settings”.
- In the left hand column, select “Timeline and Tagging”.
- In the section titled, “Who can see things on my timeline?” click the “Edit” button and select your audience.
You can see in this section that there are many other additional privacy updates you can make to various sharing behaviors on Facebook. You will want to adjust the privacy to your liking on as many of these as you can.
4) Select the Audience for Your Photos
- To update the privacy on any photo albums you have created, go to the “Photos” section of your timeline.
- Select “Albums” and then the album you want to update.
- Next, select the “Edit” button in the top right corner of the album itself. Here you can choose your audience under the “Privacy” function.
When it comes to controlling your social media presence, the answer isn’t to delete your profile. Having no presence is worse than having a poor one. The answer is to show them exactly what you want them to see.
If you need more assistance with these settings, send us a message on the Financial Social Media Facebook fan page!