3 ways to be social and maintain your privacy with Facebook listsOur love for Facebook hasn’t faltered but we know many who are hesitant about using the social network, due to fears about privacy. However, as with many situations in life, Facebook does give you the choice to decide how much you share, and to whom.
That’s why – whether you use Facebook once a month, once a week, once a day, or all the time – you need to be using lists!
Everyone starts out with just a few friends on Facebook. Gradually, as we become more comfortable, we add more friends, and we receive more friend requests. The rate at which we add new friends will depend a little on our Facebook Archetype.
If you take a look at your friends on Facebook, they will likely fall into a few categories. Close friends. Family. Local friends. Clients. Colleagues. Ex-colleagues. Old school friends. People you share a hobby with.
Facebook Lists help you target your posts and maintain your privacy. Not sure how it works? It’s simple when you know how.

1. Built-in Facebook Lists
Facebook has four ‘smart lists’ to help you manage your privacy. Close Friends, Family, Acquaintances and Restricted.
The easiest way to organise your ‘friends’ is to use these lists.
Close Friends can be used as a category to group anyone you feel comfortable with seeing your activity on Facebook.
Acquaintances can be used as a category to group anyone you would like to include in occasional updates, but not everything you share. This is a great category to place people who ‘overshare’ or who share content that you prefer not to see.
Restricted is the best place to put anyone you need to, well, restrict. They will only see you in ‘public’ posts on Facebook, and will still be able to message you.
Family is an interesting one. Some people list others as Family when they are clearly not. (This is mostly a teenager thing.) If you add someone to your Family list, they will receive a notification. (This doesn’t happen when you add people to other lists.)
Find your smart lists by hovering over the Friends list on the left side of your home page. Then you click on More.
To add people to any of those lists, click on the list name. When it takes you to a new page, you can select from friends on the right side of the screen.
This is easier than it sounds. (Facebook ‘Help’ is a great place to look for guidance if you get stuck.)
2. Create a Custom List
If you’d like to create your own list, head to the Friends section on the left side of your homepage, click on More and then Create List. Look across to the right side of the page to select and add people.
You can create as many as you like – it’s great for groups that you share a special interest with.
We love this option. Tracy has an extensive list of friends that she knows from her social dancing hobby. She has a couple of lists for dance-related posts, one local and one international.
Lulu has a list for people she knows through her blog on African creativity and, she’s added other friends and acquaintances to it, who are also interested in this subject matter.
(TOP TIP If you don’t yet have, or don’t want to have a Facebook Page for your business, but you are friends with clients on Facebook, setting up a list for them would be a smart thing to do. You could include any friends who are interested in your business. You can then share updates and content especially for them.)
3. Post to a List
Whenever you create a Status Update on Facebook, take a moment to consider your audience.
  • Is it for close friends only?
  • Is it for all your friends?
  • Is it for friends except acquaintances?
  • Is it for your clients and friends?
  • Is it for a special group you’ve created?
As soon as you click and start to compose your post, you will see a blue ‘Friends’ button appear in the right of the composing box. (It has a little image of some people in silhouette and says Friends with a drop down arrow.) Use this button to select the list that you want to be the audience for your post.
If you forget, and you click Post without selecting your list first, don’t worry. Facebook is very forgiving and allows you to edit. Here’s how to do it.
Look at a published post. At the top right there is a grey arrow (like an inverted V). This gives you editing options (you can change your wording, correct spellings and even delete it entirely, if you have changed your mind.)
To edit your post’s privacy, look for the date. Next to it, you have a grey ‘Friends’ button with the people in silhouette. Click on the drop down arrow and you can select the list to see your post.
What’s next
If you are new to Facebook and worrying about privacy, this will help you to feel more in control of your virtual friendship world.
Building your successful business takes a lot of work. We are big believers in hiring expert help. We have both benefited from coaching and technical support in building our own businesses and this is what we want to share with you.
Our current packages are here, and we can work with you in other ways too. From helping you set up your Facebook page and developing a strategy that allows your personality to shine through, to creating a unique and personal image to use across all your print and web media.
Tell us what you need help with and we’ll tell you how we can help.

Tracy and Lulu

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