PR Fish Bowl

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Tuesday Tips: To Friend or Not to Friend? Best Practices for Connecting with Clients on Social Media

These days, it seems that everyone and their grandmother is on Facebook. For PR pros, embracing social media often means connecting with clients. Team members start friending client staff, and vice versa, but are personal social media accounts really the best way to communicate? What are the risks? Whether you’re a social media super user or a silent stalking type, here are some best practices for dealing with clients on social platforms.

Build a Stronger Partnership

Accepting friend requests from clients can be good for business, because it allows them into your personal Facebook world and lets them learn more about you outside the job. This may create a better professional relationship in the end. However, it’s important to keep in mind that your every post or update can be scrutinized.

It’s Not You, It’s Me

If friending clients isn’t your thing, tell them that you separate your business and personal lives, and that you use Facebook to keep up with family and college friends, but you’d love to connect with them on Twitter and LinkedIn. Just be sure to follow through afterwards.

Brag and Tag

Many PR pros already post their coverage to social media, but tagging your client in a status update or wall post helps spread the word to your contacts and triples the visibility. Your update will appear on your page, your client’s, and the outlet’s page. Supporting client content by tagging is also a good way to network and promote your own accomplishments, so it’s a win-win.

Be Smart

If you post your innermost thoughts and deeds on Facebook, then friending a client isn’t the right choice for you. Complaining about your hangover, or venting about your frustrations at work, your boss or an unwelcome task will make your client think you don’t enjoy your job and question your commitment.

Naturally, posting lewd or inappropriate images doesn’t portray you in a professional light. Keep in mind that everything on social media is open for public consumption, even when you think it’s not, so posting anything that’s questionable is a risk you shouldn’t take.

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