If you work in the cannabis industry there is a really good chance that you are low key about what you do. You might not be - but many of us are and that can affect our daily lives. We may be cautious about what we say in public or post on social media sites like Facebook. We may not want the authorities to know but we may also want to prevent Aunt Mable from finding out too.

For me, this meant simply not using Facebook very often. I wanted to post about cannabis-related news but my family isn't really interested in that and some of them get really bent out of shape (prohibition and misinformation is fun) seeing pro-weed stuff.

Facebook Marketing and Privacy Settings

If you're in a cannabis-based business you likely want to use Facebook to connect with current and potential customers, navigating the Facebook algorithm and policy around drug-related content is a headache so some people use their personal profiles which is all the more reason to set up privacy barriers so that you can decide what content is seen by the public and what is available only to friends and family.

“Why don’t they connect with me on Instagram or Twitter?” I would grumble, wanting to have my cake and eat it too so to speak. I had forgotten the golden rule: Go Where Your Customers Are, or in this case, colleagues whose attention I want, but only sometimes.

I wanted people to connect with me on certain platforms but they wanted to connect via Facebook. I couldn’t change them so I had to adapt and make it work for me so I could maintain the connections. I knew that Facebook offered privacy settings but until recently I hadn't taken the time to sit down and intentionally set my privacy settings. Now that I have, I feel so much better that I wanted to share the info with you guys too. 

With 2017 in Full Swing I Set Out to Tackle My Friends List on Facebook

The goals:

  1. To create several lists of Facebook friends with varying degrees of privacy.
  2. Create a new habit of posting to specific audiences intentionally on Facebook rather than just throwing up anything for anyone to see.

I set out by going to my news feed and clicking on “Friends” in the left-hand column. This brought up a page with all my friends laid out grid-style. When you hover your cursor over the name of each friend a window pops up with a little bit of information about the person and some options such as Message, Follow and Friends which has a little drop down arrow that reveals a new menu with some preset lists already populated.

Facebook Developers have included three Basic Lists:

  • Close Friends: Friends you may want to share exclusively with.
  • Acquaintances: People you might want to share less with. You can choose to exclude these people when you post something, by choosing Friends except Acquaintances in the audience selector.
  • Restricted: This list is for people you’ve added as a friend but just don’t want to share with, like your boss. When you add someone to your Restricted list, they will only be able to see your Public content or posts of yours that you tag them in.

Another option is Custom Lists which allows you to create specific friend lists, such as Family or Best Friends. Custom also provides the option to share with groups or networks you belong to.

Once I had gone through my Friends List and assigned roles to everyone I went back through my newsfeed and updated the privacy settings on older posts. By the way, if you want to see what your Facebook profile looks like to other users go to your Profile Page and under the cover image is a button that says “Update Info” with three little dots next to it. Click the dots and select “View As…” and from here you can view your profile as someone from the public might or as a specific person.

I Resolve to Always Choose An Appropriate Facebook Audience

Now that we’ve gotten all the ground work out of the way, it's time to get in the habit of responsible Facebook posting. When posting to Facebook, many of us simply hit “Post” and get on with our days. I propose that we start utilizing our Friend’s Lists to publish content specific to each group. This way my cannabis friends don’t need to see the pictures of my cousin’s bachelorette party from last weekend and my family don’t have to be bombarded with articles about weed and prohibition in their feeds.

From now on, when posting to Facebook from my computer I will click the drop down menu under “Friends” and choose an audience before hitting “Post”. When I’m on my mobile device the process is the same except that the button is above the status update.

So here's to 2017! May it be full of love, laughter, prosperity and appropriate privacy settings. 

By the way, if you want to like us on Facebook it would make our day!