Are you my friend or something else??

Recently a friend of mine posted on their Facebook profile [edit replacing ‘page’] that they would soon be changing their Facebook profile [edit replacing ‘page’] to be an account for the band they will be working for. This raises for me a few issues that have been blogged about before.

My personal feeling is that this band (or business) may be looking to make the most they can from social media, perhaps with minimum effort on their part. How long has this band or business spent building up an image or reputation I can trust? The answer is actually not one second. Instead, they have employed my friend, taken over her Facebook page and gained access to all her friends. I’m not sure I am comfortable with this. (Kudos to said friend, who has been upfront about the whole ‘changeover’ thing – though I still think the band are benefitting from her friend contacts)

If I were a band or business and setting up on Facebook in what I see as an ethical way, I’d set up a page or a group for my commercial activities. If I were using a Facebook profile as a marketing tool, I’d also set up a new one of those, not just switch over my commercial activities to my personal Facebook site without warning. I guess the fact that it takes time and effort to build up a fanbase on social media makes little difference to these bands and businesses out to make what they can, and it seems to me they are using people on Facebook, while employing them as ‘street team‘ members, to get to a whole bunch of people they would not have got access to otherwise. The fact is, I’m not totally happy with it. How about you?

Facebook business

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11 thoughts on “Are you my friend or something else??

  1. Hi Mike,

    I’m not quite sure I understand what your friend has done here…? The way I’m reading it is that she has turned her personal Facebook page into a band page, which, if she has, strikes me as a rather odd thing to do.

    AFAIK, you can’t set up a commercial page on Facebook these days unless you have a personal page – you have to add the page for your company on as a separate bit.

    I have a personal Facebook page (private, with settings that are pretty well locked down) for friends and family, and also a company page which was set up via the same account, but which is entirely separate from my personal page.

    I wouldn’t have chosen set it up this way, but there doesn’t seem to be an alternative way of doing it.

    If I am reading this correctly then I don’t think I’d be terribly fussed on what you describe either, though it’s possible that your friend might simply be unaware of the fact she could set up a separate page for the band using her account, and keep her personal page private.

    An alternative way of managing the situation would be to change your Facebook settings so that particular friend can’t see anything you or your other friends post to your profiles (involves a bit of work, but it can be done). Depends how much you want to keep in touch really, I suppose.


    • Hi Sue,

      This is how I see it, stressing, of course, that this my viewpoint as I have not got the whole picture from my friend.

      My friend has recently been employed by this band as a ‘street team’ officer – the way I understand this is that it’s like word-of-mouth marketing – since following the band and getting to know them.

      In her words, her Facebook profile (the personal one, where we put up pictures of parties, have our list of friends, silly games, etc.) is going to be taken over for her work relating to the band. I believe she will still be ‘in control’ personally of the content, but this content will be related to promoting/advertising the band. She will be using her profile for this work, and not a page.

      She has set up a new Facebook account for non-band related friends (which really is as easy to do as it is to set up multiple email accounts).

      Here’s where I get a little bit angry. The band should set up pages on Facebook (perhaps on a regional basis) and then employ people to administrate those pages. Then, word of mouth could get around, and people who find they like the band can then add that page on Facebook, ‘like’ it or whatever. Their choice.

      The way I see it, with my friend converting her original Facebook account into an area for work, the band are gaining access to all of the people she has on Facebook as ‘friends’. They’ve not had a choice in the matter.

      Any promo work my friend now does on that account would now show up in my Home feed. The band has not put any work into this, not built up my trust or support via traditional methods. They have got to me through my friend.

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  3. Hmmmm…. Doesn’t sound like a good recipe for making friends and influencing people to me.

    Think I’d probably be reaching for the unfriend button as well, to be honest.

    • Thanks for the comment, Sue.

      Just would like to make clear that I have nothing against people using FB as a way to market in the way like you and Karenne do – with groups or pages related to work stuff.

      That is the right way IMO to go about marketing on Facebook. Using peoples’ profiles is not.

      (for information, I’ve edited the first line, so hopefully it’s a bit clearer what I’ve got the issue with)

  4. Yup, I agree Mike – so much greyness… honestly and it’s hard to wade through to figure out “what” the right thing to do is. For example, my FB page was my personal page and in the beginning when I had a wee blog it was actually a way to feed in my posts for friends, colleagues and especially, my aunties who were about the only people visiting in the beginning!!!

    But then, I got friended by people who followed my blog and I thought heck, alright, that sounds okay and then by Twitter buddies and I thought whoa, okay, some yeah – the people who I really communicate with and stuff but sometimes I find myself (sorry folks, if it was one of you), reaching for the ignore button because so much of my life is there.

    I know people like Shelly simply just set up a separate account to keep private personal life and professional spaces separate but I dunno, for one it’s a lot of work to manage more than one account and actually I don’t really want to cut out my family from what I am doing professionally (I like their feedback) and on the otherhand, don’t really want to cut my professional friends out of what’s going on with me in life either….

    OOooooo the lines, eh, where do you draw them???


    • Hi Karenne, thanks for dropping by with your thoughts.

      I don’t have a problem with what you describe, that sort of grows organically, and as long as it is kind of up front and clear to see who you are and what you do.

      What I find pretty unacceptable is that this band has gone ‘hey, we’ve got these fans (in real life) and they have hundreds of friends on Facebook, let’s give ’em a title, ask them to professionalise their FB profile, then we can get to all their friends’. Sticks in my craw a little.

      On a related note regarding Facebook, my current policy is to only add friends or accept friend invitations from people who I’ve actually met face to face. Feels a bit weird to me to mix personal and professional on there.

  5. I personally only Friend people who I know face to face, usually meaning family and people I have shared beers with. Apologies to the four or five TEFL contacts whose invitations who I have therefore ignored, but surely that’s what LinkedIn is for?? (not that I’m a member…)

    • Hi Alex, that’s exactly my philosophy about adding people as friends on Facebook, so here’s my chance to apologise myself to TEFLy people who I’ve ignored on there.

      Maybe I should look into LinkedIn – but sometimes just think there is too much stuff out there (blog, Twitter, Google account – for docs, wave, YouTube etc. – Yahoo account – for delicious = confusing!!)

  6. Hi Mike!

    I think Sue might be right. Your friend might be setting up a company page via his/her personal account. For instance, I’ve got 2 pages I manage through my own account, one for my school and another for my association. But they’re separate from my personal account and no access to my friends, except those I’ve suggested the pages to and are now following them. If this is not the case with your friend, then it’s wrong.

    My policy with Facebook is “friends” only. That doesn’t mean I know everyone face-to-face. There are people who I’ve met on twitter that I consider my friends now, like Karenne & Sue, and who I don’t mind sharing more personal stuff with.


    • Hi Anna, thanks for your thoughts.

      Nope, if my friend had merely set up a ‘page’ on Facebook, I would have no problem with it. It seems she is basically transforming her ‘Sarah (not her real name) the normal person’ Facebook profile into a ‘Sarah the street team worker for band X’ profile. She’s also set up another account and is adding non-band related friends to that.

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