Guest Post by Mickie Kennedy
Over a billion people have Facebook accounts, and chances are you and most of your clients rank in that number. Most likely you use your Facebook page to keep up with friends, share pictures of your life or even just keep up with what’s new and viral. But you may also share political or religious beliefs and very personal stories.
So what happens though when your client wants to add you as a friend to your personal Facebook account? There are some things to consider before deciding whether or not to hit “confirm” on that friend request.
Online Friendship Can Strengthen Client Relationships
The first argument is that people like to buy from people they like. By confirming the friendship request, you can build rapport and even genuine friendship. This can then turn into increased loyalty to your business.
However, issues can pop up with previous posts or if you share something of a political or religious nature. No other subjects can stir up animosity more quickly. It would be terrible to ruin a perfectly good client relationship because the two of you differ on an ideological issue.
Fortunately, there are things you can do if you decide to accept the friend request.
Namely, you can update your privacy features so that only close friends see your posts (unless you specify otherwise.) This allows you to accept the gesture of friendship, while still maintaining your privacy.
Keep Personal Just That
The converse argument is to simply not friend clients on Facebook. If you take this approach, chances are you feel that because it’s your own personal account, you should be able to post what you’d like without fear of reprisal from your customers. This is a perfectly acceptable attitude!
In this scenario, be honest with your customers about why you want to keep this account personal and steer them either to the company page or another company social media account. More often than not, they will appreciate the honesty. Also there is a chance that if you add a client as a friend, you might get customer service requests to your personal page when you are not working. This can be difficult for your customer to get prompt service and annoying for you having to deal with them during your off time.
To Friend or Not to Friend?
The choice to add your customers or not to your page is really a personal one. It boils down to who it is, how you feel about them, and whether you want to involve them in what you post privately.
As a business owner, you may want to examine your priorities when you receive a request like this. Are you considering this person’s request for reasons of your business’s continued success, or are you more concerned about being well-liked? While it’s true that the two often go hand-in-hand, more often than not you’ll likely wind up sacrificing either your freedom of online speech or your ability to make a profit.
Have you ever had issues after adding a client? Or did it benefit your business? Tell us what you think in the comments.
This article was written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases PR and author of The Advanced Guide to Writing Powerful Press Releases. He lives in Baltimore, MD.