When my hard-working clients ask me for help, I come running.
So when Caryn, one of my Make It Work Online Accelerator clients, told me that her personal Facebook page was a mess, I jumped to her aid.
Caryn’s personal Facebook page had lost its personal touch, and most of her “friends” were colleagues and prospective clients. She missed seeing her real friend updates, but she didn’t know what to do about it.
Could she separate business and personal on Facebook without offending anyone?
I was in this exact position about 5 years ago, and I found a way to clear out about 2,543 “friends” without turning anyone off.
When I told Caryn what I did, she took fast action and had the same business- and friend-affirming results.
Want to do the same?
Read on to grab my Steal This! script for gracefully de-cluttering your personal Facebook page without offending anyone.
Why I De-Friended 2,543 People
Most of us have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. It’s great for business, but it’s way too easy for prospects, colleagues, and that person you met for two minutes at a conference to friend you rather than like or follow your business page.
It happens to all of us.
And when it happened to me, I decided to clean house.
My personal Facebook page, probably a lot like yours, had become a hodgepodge of friends, family, prospects, and colleagues.
When I logged on, my feed was full of people I didn’t really know, and I was missing out on seeing updates from the people I cared most about.
One day I decided to bite the bullet and de-friend them… with a twist. (More on this in a second.)
I felt instant relief. I loved my new feed. And I loved not being friends with not real friends. Plus, I got a lot of “THANK YOU!!” replies.
Pros and Cons
Of course, there are pros and cons to de-friending people on your personal page.
On the plus side, you’re creating clear boundaries between your personal life and your business. This allows you to share personal posts without feeling like the whole world will see it.
Also, I like having clear boundaries. Work seeps into our lives so easily when we work from home to run a virtual business, so creating a solid separation between work and personal on Facebook feels good to me.
Added bonus: When you sign into Facebook, your feed is full of people you know. (Imagine that!)
The downsides to de-friending people? Some might take it personally, even if you explain why you’re doing it.
Your personal page gets ways more views than your business page (which is why you’re probably hanging onto your personal page for business). And a lot of people like to feel like they’re friends with prospects.
Just beware, it’s against Facebook’s terms of service to use your personal page to represent your business, even though loads of people still do it.
If you decide to create solid boundaries, go pro with Facebook, and start de-friending, here’s how to do it without turning people off (and impressing several in the process).
Steal This! My Non-Offending De-Friending Message Script
Here’s the script you can use to de-friend and deny friend requests gracefully.
The Initial De-Friending Script
This is the exact message I sent to the 2,000+ people I de-friended, and it worked like a charm. No hurt feelings or bad juju.
In fact, I got a lot of positive responses and Facebook Business Page Likes when I sent it—bonus!
I hope you’re well!
I’m moving my business connections to my brand new business page. Would you be okay joining me over there? [LINK TO YOUR BIZ PAGE]
I want to make sure we stay connected as I transition away from my personal account and over to my business page.
Be sure to send me your fan page so I can like it, too.
The Decline a Friend Request Script
For about two years after I created this boundary, I would also send this message to prospects or colleagues who sent me friend requests.
Thanks so much for your friend request. Right now I’m trying to keep personal and biz Facebook separate, so I’d love to connect with you on my public page: LINK TO YOUR BIZ PAGE
Do you have a page where I can join you, too?
Have a great day!
I no longer do this (now I simply decline friend requests without comment if I don’t know you), but this worked well, and I received many kind replies from it.
If you’re ready to de-friend people but don’t want to send individual messages to each person, you can post a general message on your timeline letting people know that you’re cleaning house and there are no hard feelings.
And if de-friending makes you terribly uncomfortable, you can simply unfollow people who you don’t want to see in your feed.
Facebook prefers you to have lots of friends (for commercial reasons), so they make it easy to hide updates from people without their knowing that you did so. Still, this doesn’t change that people who aren’t real friends can see your personal posts.
You can also create separate segments of people and choose who can see each post. But that can get time-consuming (and Facebook is already time-consuming enough!).
What Do You Think? De-Friend or Not?
Now I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
Do you prefer a clean separation between your personal and business pages?
Have you ever de-friended a big chunk of your friends?
Does the thought of de-friending people make you break out into a sweat?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.