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8 Tactful Ways to use your Personal Facebook Account as a Marketing Tool

Facebook personal profiles are not for business use. With that said, plenty of people use their personal profiles to interact with their target audience through sharing blog posts, industry news, and events. So today, we’re going to look at how to set up your personal profile for marketing and eight things you can do with your personal profile that can’t be done with Facebook business pages.

Before we begin, there are a few things that you will want to do before using your personal profile for marketing, in terms of privacy and making sure the right information is displayed on your profile.

Keeping Personal and Public Facebook Content Separate

One of the top concerns you might have about mixing your marketing messages with your personal profile is keeping your personal things personal. You can keep everything separate by turning on the allow subscribers setting. To do so, go to your Account Settings > Subscribers.

Facebook personal profile subscriber settings

The benefit of allowing people to subscribe to your profile is that they can see your public status updates without actually connecting as a friend. Just check your privacy settings on anything that you want to share with friends only like your photo albums.

facebook personal profile photo album privacy settings

Or your status updates.

You can also configure more settings under your Privacy Settings menu, such as who can post on your Timeline or tag you.

facebook personal profile privacy settings

Last but not least, you can edit your Timeline About Info (this link only works when you are logged in to Facebook).

facebook personal profile timeline privacy settings

This way, you can keep your personal about information private. I would suggest keeping things like your website listings public so people can always get to your business, blog, or other websites.

Key Areas to Update Before Going Public

After you have edited your privacy settings, there are a few things you will want to make sure you have set up on your personal profile before you start using it for marketing. These things include the following.

Your Timeline Cover Photo

Just like your business page should have an awesome Timeline cover photo, your personal profile should as well. Your personal profile’s cover photo should be just that – a little more personal or professional, but not dedicated to advertising your business. A great example is KISSmetric’s own, Neil Patel’s cover photo.

facebook timeline cover photo personal profile

It’s a great example of showing personality and professionalism all in one go. Just be sure that your cover photo is a reflection of you!

Your Current Employer

Why is your current employer important? Because your current job title and employer is the first thing listed under your profile photo.

facebook personal profile timeline employer no hover

When set up correctly, people that hover over or click on the link to your employer will go to your employer’s fan page.

facebook personal profile timeline employer

To get this to work, make sure you select the correct fan page for your employment from the dropdown when adding it as a place you have worked.

facebook personal profile marketing work education settings dropdown

Then make sure that the fan page you want on the front of your Timeline is listed as the most recent and current job.

facebook personal profile marketing work education settings

And, of course, make sure your Work and Education section is publicly viewable.

facebook personal profile marketing work education settings public

Your Websites

As mentioned earlier, make sure you have listed your main websites (blog, business, other social profiles, etc.) in your Contact Info and make sure it is publicly viewable.

facebook personal profile marketing contact info websites

Your Pages

If you are an admin of any Facebook pages, you can list them on your personal profile. Click on the Edit button to make sure only the ones you want showing on your profile are.

facebook personal profile timeline marketing pages

Your Status Updates

As a part of your ongoing marketing effort on your personal profile, you should be sure to keep updating your profile with great updates by sharing questions, photos, videos, and links that your target audience will find interesting. Make sure to mix in some personal updates that everyone can see so they can get to know you as more than just a marketer – help everyone get to know you as a person!

Your Friends

In order to spread your message to your friends, you need to have friends! You can start by going to Facebook’s Friend Finder page (this link only works when you are logged in to Facebook). Here, you can search your email or Skype for contacts that are on Facebook.

facebook friend finder contacts

Beneath that area, you can look at the People You May Know section to see people who you have mutual friends in common with. Or you can use the Find Friends Browser (this link only works when you are logged in to Facebook) to filter people you may know by location, school, or employer.

To make sure you get more friend requests and subscribers, be sure to share your personal profile link publicly on your website, blog, forums, and other social profiles like Google+.

What You Can Do with Your Personal Profile

Now that your profile is all set, here are nine things you can do with your personal profile on Facebook that you can’t do with your business page.

1. Wish Friends a Happy Birthday

facebook personal timeline profile marketing birthdays

Want to make a really personal connection with your audience in just a few minutes a day? Go to your Facebook news feed and see who has a birthday. Then simply wish them a happy birthday right from your news feed. You don’t have to go from profile to profile which makes it a fast and easy way to let someone know you thought about them! Just personalize your happy birthday wish with the person’s first name and you’re set!

Why is this an important thing to do? EdgeRank of course. Chances are, the person will like your happy birthday wish and/or comment back. This means that they have interacted with you, and that makes it more likely that you will show up in their news feed.

2. Send Private Messages

Although Facebook has opened the door to allowing business pages to receive private messages, they still can’t send them unless it is a reply to one they have received. With your personal profile, you can send private messages to one or more friends at a time. Just because you can send messages to multiple people at once doesn’t mean you should though. Individual, personalized messages go a long way.

3. Segment Friend Lists for Targeted Messaging

When it comes to posting updates on your Facebook business page, you can either send your update publicly or target it to people in a specific location.

facebook page targeting options

On your personal profile, you have a lot more options. You can target your status updates to particular people or people on a friends list.

facebook personal profile targeting options

This gives the Facebook personal profile functionality similar to the Google+ profile where you can send status updates to particular circles. To send a status update to multiple lists and people at a time, just select the Custom option. Change the dropdown to Specific People or Lists and then start typing in the lists / names.

facebook personal profile targeting options custom

The key to being able to do this effectively is making sure that your friends are segmented properly. This means that you need to create your friends lists early on and continue to maintain them as you add new friends to your personal profile. This way you can send personal status updates to just your personal connections, and send business updates to everyone else.

Also keep in mind that if you have your profile open to subscribers, anything that is sent to a specific friend list is not visible to your subscribers. Subscribers can only view publicly shared content.

4. Influence Bing CTR

Sure, more people use Google than Bing. But for those that do use Bing and have their search results personalized based on their Facebook connections, they will see search results with your name next to them when you like those links.

bing search results facebook enhanced

This can greatly help increase click through rates as people are more likely inclined to choose something endorsed by someone they know vs. an unknown search result.

5. Participate in Groups

While many groups on Facebook are polluted by spam, there are some good ones.

facebook groups

Finding groups within your industry and participating in them is a great way to gain exposure for brand, and you can only participate in Facebook groups through your personal profile.

6. Subscribe to & Comment on Personal Profiles

Want to get your name in front of someone specific, but don’t know them well enough? Why not subscribe to their personal profile (if available) and start engaging on their public updates (if allowed).

facebook personal profiles subscribe button

This can be a great way to start a conversation with someone in your target audience without having to request their friendship. And it is something you can’t do with your Facebook page.

7. Create Interest Lists

Interest lists are like Twitter lists for Facebook. It allows you to compile people and pages together so that you can easily follow their public status updates. The best part is, when you create them, they are shared publicly for others to subscribe to.

facebook personal profile interest lists

This means that you can create an awesome list, add yourself AND your business page (if they cover the same topics), and have the change to be followed by lots of subscribers. To create an Interest list, go to the Add Interests page (this link only works when you are logged in to Facebook). Then click the Create List button.

facebook create interest list

Once compiled, be sure to share it with your friends so it starts building up subscribers. The more you have, the more likely you will be suggested!

8. Suggest Your Page to Friends

If you have lots of friends on Facebook, but not lots of fans on your business page, you can suggest your business page to them. Go to your Facebook page’s Admin Panel > Build Audience > Invite Friends.

facebook suggest page to friends

You can filter your friends by location, friend list, or use the search box to find specific friends to invite to your page. Your invitation will show up in their notifications where they can’t miss it!

What You Can’t Do with Your Personal Profile

Facebook is a stickler for rules, so be sure to reference this page about receiving warnings from Facebook. It includes a lot of helpful information about how not to get your personal profile banned from Facebook. Also don’t miss Facebook’s Community Standards and Terms.

Do you use your personal Facebook profile as a part of your marketing strategy? What other things do you do with it that you can’t (or wish you could) with your Facebook page?

About the Author: Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. Her blog Kikolani focuses on blog marketing for personal, professional, and business bloggers. You can follow her on , Twitter, and Facebook.

  1. Hey Kristi,

    Wow, I felt a little bit light-headed from all the information I’ve just read here.

    It surely looks as I have a TON of work to do over at my Facebook profile but luckily for me, this guide will work wonders for that so thank you in advance!


  2. Danielle McGaw Mar 28, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    This is a great post Kristi. So many people are afraid of using their personal profile for anything but games but if you learn the ins and outs of your profile and find out how to work it you can do a lot.

  3. Debbie Hemley Mar 28, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Whoa, Kristi. You never cease to amaze me! Excellent post, great information shared!

    Best, Debbie

  4. Johanna Castro Mar 28, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Thanks, Kristi! I really like the way you make things so clear, and the screenshots you use in all your posts are so helpful. These days there is so much information that we need to digest. I know that I can rely on your posts for straight-to-the-point, relevant and easily accessible information about hot topics. Loved this article! More power to you :)

  5. Yogesh Gautam Mar 28, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Thank you Kristi It is a nice post… great tips for using personal Facebook account as marketing tool.

  6. Harleena Singh Mar 29, 2012 at 1:21 am

    Awesome guide Kristi!

    I think you shared everything we need to know about Facebook, and am glad that I kept my personal profile separate from my fan page right from the start- as I have seen people juggle between the two.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful information :)

    • It’s tough when you start your page / profile out one way and then want to convert it. I’m still in the conversion process myself, but it’s worth it in the end. :)

  7. Kristi, I really appreciate this. I haven’t yet made setting up a separate Facebook business page a priority, so this will really help me make better use of my personal Facebook page.

    I do share 2-3 of my blog posts a week with all of my friends, but that’s intermixed with another 10 or so posts that have nothing to do with business.

    • That’s what I do on my personal profile too. It lets people see the personal side of me which is what they want when connecting with a personal profile and the professional side.

  8. Hi Kristi, I’m so glad you advice against using your profile cover to promote your business. Some people seem to think that since the Facebook Page covers have so many restrictions, they should turn their profile into a bill board instead. I’m sure a lot of people will see this post and change their profile covers now. Nice work! Thank you.

    • I go with the assumption that if they don’t want business pages to use cover photos for advertising, they certainly wouldn’t want personal profiles to do it either. :)

  9. Jitesh Navlani Mar 30, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    It is such a great thing that we can use FB as a marketing tool and Thanks for sharing the wonderful information :)

  10. Heather B. Duthie Apr 02, 2012 at 6:43 am

    One note to add, because it took me a few minutes to figure out; If you want to show your Pages on your personal profile, you must be set as a ‘Featured Page Owner’ from the Page setup.
    It should be in the settings for your page under ‘Featured’. Then when you go back to the settings on your personal profile, the Pages option shows up and you can edit which to display from there.

  11. Richard Palmanteer Apr 04, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    Kristi, thanks for the information, I’m starting out as a Affiliate Marketer and I was told to use social media as well on my web site. Now I have the information I need to be able to do that. I had no idea how I was going to accomplish it. Great article.

  12. Why doesn’t my business page not have an invite friends tab under build audience? It only has invite friends from contacts and create an add? I want to add my friends from my personal page to like my business page. No option and facebook help sucks! My accounts are linked and page works properly. Thanks!

  13. Hi I hope you can help me, I just created a page last week and am finding it really difficult to do anything with it, I can’t views anyone’s timeline, can’t find the search bar to find some pages to swap likes with, when I log in it directs me straight to that business dash board. Any help would be really appreciated. Jo

  14. Anindita Debnath Jun 27, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    That was a really insightful post Kristi! You have given lots of points, some of them which I would not have thought of doing, especially point 6!(Subscribe to & Comment on Personal Profiles) The post definitely broadens the ways we can use Facebook as a marketing tool, especially more because it is an easy to do list and we can start off with it right away!

    Thanks for sharing.


  15. This is a great post but leaves one issue for me that it doesn’t seem to address. I had a different last name when in school and college so I need to show a different name to my friends and a different name for business. Anyone know of a work around for this? Desperate for a solution to this.

  16. Keith Eastman Oct 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Kristi this was more information then I was expecting when I seen this blog post. So many peoople are confused on how to use Facebook for marketing and you hit the nail on the head of using personal profiles. Love the post!

  17. This is absolutely great. But I made the mistake of creating a FB page for my business before creating a personal account. Now I would like a personal account, too, but can’t find out how to create one (or whether it’s allowed). Can you help?

    • If you have a page but do not have a profile (fb used to allow that but now it doesn’t). You can make a separate profile then go back to your page and make your profile a administration of the page. Then your page will have full functionality.

  18. Sanjit Mandal Dec 27, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    This is a fantastic post! Tons of great information and I’m going to use it too! :)

  19. Precisely the info I was looking for! FANTASTIC.
    What about the chat feature? Is that only available to personal profiles?
    I think it would be great to be able to chat live with prospects too as well as friends.
    Looking forward to your feedback and THANKS!

  20. Hi,

    Is it wise to have a personal profile but under the business name?

    Or a business can only have a fan page?

  21. Thanks for sharing this excelent post with a lot of information for facebook optimization. I will start right away to optimeze my page.


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