You Don’t Have to be Friends with Clients on Facebook

(This is a cross-post from Angela’s LinkedIn Article. She also penned a similar post on her original blog, Online Community Strategist almost 8 years ago, on 1/5/2011.)

If I’m friends with a client on Facebook, you’d better believe that we’ve crossed over into the “friend” arena and that I would (or probably have) hang out with them in real life even if or when our client/agency relationship ends. In fact, I’m friends with several former clients from my old agency, and we also send each other text messages with everything from prom pictures to adorable images of her two dogs and even random rants about our day and potential vacation spots.

We are actually friends, and that is my criteria for Facebook. I have told many people over the years that you should have your own personal social media policy, Some embrace the idea and others are frankly too scared to tell people, no.

When someone tells me they sent me a friend request on Facebook, and I don’t want to invite them into my personal life, I say something along the lines of: “Why don’t you connect on LinkedIn or Twitter? I reserve Facebook for family and very close friends.” I’ve only gotten a weird look maybe three times. And I can live with that. But what usually happens is a conversation ensues about why and how I have such guidelines and whether or not I think they should do it, or if it’s too late to go back and clean things up a bit.

For Facebook, I am only friends with people who actually know and have a relationship with me. I trust these people with pictures of my children, information related to my check-ins, milestones of my daughters and even post-workout pictures as I chronicle my road back to being healthy and fit. These are people I would have at my house for dinner.

As a gymnastics mom, I’m pretty close to several parents whom I’ve been spending time with for years, but recently turned down a Facebook friend request from one mom. She mentioned at practice recently that we aren’t friends on Facebook. I gently shared my policy with her. I assured her that we have a gret relationship but that I am very particular about Facebook. I think she understood.

Maybe this is not something you need to consider. But my point here is you absolutely have the right to. Rather than avoiding friend requests and keeping people in what I call Facebook purgatory, for months, let them know how you operate.

They may respect you for it. Or, they’ll unfriend you. Wait, they won’t be able to do that if you don’t let them in.

Do you have a personal social media policy? Please share.



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