Someone I know asked me an interesting question recently and I wanted to address it. This particular person works in a professional field where it is important to keep information confidential. You can imagine the type – doctors, lawyers, accountants (the list goes on). Because of this, they were hesitant about setting up a Facebook business page due to these privacy issues. I addressed a few of these issues while talking to the person, but thought they were valid questions that you may also have. I’ve also added a few more points, as well.

Question 1: If someone “likes” my Facebook page, isn’t that in itself a breach of confidentiality, since then others could know they are connected with me?

Answer: I wouldn’t think so. Anyone can “like” any other businesses Facebook page. Just because someone “likes” your page doesn’t mean you do work with them. Case in point, my mother “likes” my business page as do out of state friends. Are they likely going to hire me anytime soon? Probably not, but they are supportive, so I appreciate them following along. Plus, remember that it is completely optional for someone to “like” your page. They must opt-in to do it. So, if they don’t want to, they don’t have to.

Question 2: Do Facebook users have to “like” my page in order to see the content I’m posting?

Answer: No. They can always visit your Timeline to see your posts. If they choose not to like the page, however, they will not get your posts automatically delivered into their “Wall” or “News Feed”.

Question 3: Can I restrict users from posting on my wall?

Answer: You sure can! It’s super easy to do. When you’re on your Timeline page in the Admin panel, at the top of the page, click Edit Page. From there, you’ll be able to select “Manage Permission”. Once you get to this page, deselect the boxes under “Posting Ability”. This will restrict users from posting to your Timeline. You may also want to modify the “Posting Visibility” portion as well, to your personal preferences.

Question 4: What type of content would I even post so I don’t breach confidentiality agreements?

Answer: This can be a tricky one. I would recommend general industry news, quotes related to your industry, advice that you could possibly give that wouldn’t be confidential. For instance, if you were an accountant, saying “It’s April 7th – Don’t forget to file your taxes.”, you wouldn’t be sharing private information. I’ll call it, “common knowledge advice”. Also, if your company is going to be going anywhere or participating in any events, you can mention that. For example, let’s say you are sponsoring a fundraiser, you could tell your followers about that event. Sharing photos can also be a great way to engage your audience – even if they are ones of you or your staff working at the office. And if your company or industry has very tight regulatory rules about what to post on Facebook, be sure to follow them!

Question 5: What if I post something on my page and someone comments with private information regarding themselves?

Answer: Let’s use the accountant example again. You post, “It’s April 7th – Don’t forget to file your taxes.” And then someone comments, “That reminds me, I need to call you to set up an appointment!” That type of a comment could imply that that follower is a client of yours, which could be confidential information, but they are voluntarily divulging that information to others. You are not sharing it on their behalf. Depending on your field, you may know what to do best with this type of comment. However, since that person is voluntarily offering up that comment in a very public space at that point in time, based on the type of information the person is sharing in response, I bet it wouldn’t be much of an issue. If you’re concerned, however, you can always delete the comment. In addition, you can also add a block list within your account settings and add specific keywords that would need to be moderated before posting to your page.

Question 6: What if I do not restrict posting on my page and someone asks a private question and is waiting for a reply?

Answer: The good news about this is, Facebook now allows users to send you a message directly, so they don’t have to post it on their wall. But in the case that your followers don’t use this feature, instead of answering it publicly, politely tell them that you’d be happy to help them and provide your contact information, so you can bring the conversation back to a private space.

So there you have it! My answers to the questions about Facebook business pages that may be nagging you as a business professional.

Do you have any other questions? Or if you are a business professional, how are you using Facebook so you can keep confidential information confidential? Leave me a comment and let me know!