Are you one of the billion-plus Facebook users? Regardless of why you joined the social networking site, it is quite possible that a couple of your clients have found your personal account and sent friend requests. Being a business owner, freelancer or an entrepreneur, this leads to a conundrum: should you accept the request? Generally, most Facebook users accept all requests they get only to check later whether the person is worth keeping as a Facebook friend. You don’t have that luxury when your client adds you.
The risk here is that you might drive away a major client by refusing his/her friend request. The client may perceive your behavior as rude even though you are being strictly professional. Needless to say, it is a difficult situation to deal with, one that you need to get out of with tact and nous. You can simply add them or ignore them so they are no longer able to view your profile. Tweaking the privacy settings is another option.
Before looking at what you should do, it is important to go over the pros and cons of adding your clients as Facebook friends.
1. First and foremost, Facebook is a platform you can use to have personal interaction with your clients. You can talk to them through Facebook chat, write on their wall, like their posts, etc. In today’s business environment, building relationships with your clients is important for retaining them. Adding them as Facebook friends is one of the ways through which you can do this.
2. You can go beyond conventional promotion strategies, like bombarding your fans’ walls with updates and content related to your business. Instead, you can give a glimpse into your personal life and the way you get things done. This is a more effective way of promoting yourself and one that your competitors are unlikely to use.
3. You get the chance to target the people in your clients’ networks. This is a way you can broaden your target market and get more customers. For freelancers in particular, this is a surefire way to get more business.
The pros of adding clients as Facebook friends are strong no doubt. Yet, at the same time, there are a few drawbacks you need to keep in mind.
1. The biggest risk you undertake is leaving yourself vulnerable to questionable content posted related to you by your friends or people in your social circle. Often times, you will have felt the need to delete a post or de-tag yourself from a picture your friend posted on your wall. In this case, the client may get to see a side of you which is unprofessional and not that of a person they may want to work with.
2. It is difficult to prevent your personal and professional lives from amalgamating on Facebook even when your clients are not on your friends’ list. Once you decide to add them, it becomes a juggling act of sorts with you having to hide your “wild” side from them. Sooner or later, it will get too hard to handle for you so it is better to draw the line beforehand.