As a solopreneur and professional services provider, you are your brand – so your clients can’t help but think of you and your company as one. As clients get to know you and feel more comfortable with you, you can expect to get occasional friend requests from them on Facebook. Though some might “friend” you to dig into your background, I believe most simply and genuinely seek to reach a new level of camaraderie with you because they sincerely like you.
Certainly, some cons go with the pros of crossing the Facebook friend line, but there are some very real benefits to making your clients your friends. By accepting their friend requests and letting them into your personal Facebook world, you can:
- Strengthen your bond – Having a means to communicate and interact on a more personal level can lead to stronger emotional connections between you and your clients. They see you with your family…your friends…your pets. They get to know you more deeply and will feel more vested in you professionally as a result.
- Impress – By seeing all that you’re involved with outside of your business, clients will get a feel for your sense of – and contributions to – your community. Demonstrating your commitment to improving the world around you can be a wonderful way to showcase your good works and give clients the peace of mind that they’re doing business with someone who cares about others.
- Entertain – Assuming you’re a bit more casual in tone and in the topics you present on your personal Facebook account than you are on your professional social networks, your less-businessy, fun side will shine through. Your clients will relish getting a glimpse of your sense of humor and quick wit. And they’ll feel more at one with you having experienced your lighter side.
But before you get stoked about the perks potential from friending your clients, objectively evaluate whether your activity on your personal Facebook account will generate a positive or negative response. If you believe (or someone has told you) that your content is borderline offensive or inappropriate, friending clients might not be a good move for you professionally.
Also, set a policy for how you’ll handle Facebook friend requests from clients – and be consistent with it. Treat all clients who seek to cross the line the same. Assuming you value your professional relationships with all of them, don’t pick, choose, and alienate individual clients while letting others into your personal circles. That could hurt not only feelings, but also your business.
What’s your rule on having clients as Facebook friends? Have you ever ignored a client’s Facebook friend request?
Image courtesy of “Master isolated images” / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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