Should Freelancers be Facebook Friends with Clients?
In today’s world, everyone is connected. Mobile technology and social media have make it easier than ever to work on the go and stay connected with friends and family too. But, unfortunately there can be downsides to being connected all the time.
With this higher level of connectedness, more people can see what you do online whether personal or professional. In fact, a lot of young professionals have reported that their job positions have been cut short due to what they post online, if they are hired at all.
With companies policing employees’ and contractors’ internet usage and social media profiles, it’s no wonder it’s a dilemma if you should befriend a client on Facebook! Before you accept that friend request, here are some pros and cons to help you decide if you should be Facebook friends with your clients.
Why You Should Send or Accept the Invite
Times Have Changed
Before social media and the rise of the internet, work and life were kept fairly separate. What you did at home stayed at home and what you did at work stayed at work. But, in today’s world that rule no longer applies.
People are taking work home. They are meeting clients for cocktails, and then running to a dinner with the family. And many report that the last thing they do before they go to bed is check emails. The line between home and work is blurred, and many people don’t mind it so. In fact, if you don’t friend your client, you might lose out on a lead or on generating another connection because you didn’t friend them on Facebook. You might be surprised at how you can use Facebook to grow your freelance business.
You Want to Grow Your Relationship
Any more, how you connect with a client can mean the difference between a one-time job to a long-term stream of projects. If you have that relationship that already goes beyond work, become friends on Facebook!
Having similar interests can lead to new jobs, connections, and networking through befriending your client on Facebook. Getting to know them personally may not hurt. The same as with any other Facebook contact – you revel in their joy and sympathize their grievances.
It’s Another Mode of Communication
Instant communication is what everyone wants right now. They don’t want to wait for the email to come or for you to finish your meeting. Some clients want your answer now. This goes the other way to. If you know they are on messenger right now, you might be able to get a hold of them and ask a quick question and save 5 minutes typing an email.
Why You Shouldn’t Send or Accept the Invite
Though most people say to go ahead and friend everyone they know, there may be some reasons why you shouldn’t be Facebook friends with your clients.
Your Personal Life is Way Different Than Your Professional Life
If you have a crazy private live, it might be best to not friend your clients. You don’t want your professional image damaged by one crazy night when someone did a Facebook live feed. Or if you are a very private person, it’s okay to not friend your clients. It’s your decision and you can even make it one of your business policies.
You Need Strong Boundaries
If your client already contacts you too often outside of normal business hours, you might not want to accept them. Sometimes you do need to leave work at work and home at home. Especially if your working relationship hasn’t grown to a friendly status. Not adding your clients as Facebook friends will help you create better boundaries.
To Prevent Rants From Getting Back to Your Client
We all need to blow off steam, and sometimes saying you had a crappy day on Facebook can help when everyone comments or reacts. If you go into specifics and your client sees it’s about them, it could damage your business relationship.
With how business is done today, it’s probably in your favor to become Facebook friends with your clients. If you do want to friend clients, you can always separate them into a list and only post things to your friends and family list, so they can’t see your posts. At the very least you can create a professional Facebook profile and friend them through there. If push came to shove, you can always unfriend them or unfollow their posts. It’s up to you on how well you know your client and your relationship if you want to be their Facebook friend or not.