Most photographers I know have a social presence somewhere online and they should. After all a good way for people to find you is to display your work and hope others take notice of your talents.
But let’s focus on Facebook for a minute since a recent discussion came up on a particular group on whether or not it’s a good idea to “Friend” your clients.
For me personally I am on the side that business and clients need not mix with my person life unless I was already friends with the client before hand. On the opposite end of the spectrum some photographers believe that becoming friends with their clients creates an “open book” type of attitude.
Here’s my personal belief behind not accepting friend requests from clients I’ve just started with working with and it boils down to boundaries.
A friend who becomes a client is someone you have already established a report with and will often understand where your boundaries are and if they cross the lines you can let them know to back off while still maintaining that friendship. Hopefully.
Where as a client is someone who you are beginning to establish a report with and their rules of your boundaries may not be 100% clear to them.
For example the few photographers that I know who do accept friend requests from clients usually do it so the client can tag their photos. But in some cases since the client is a paying customer and are now listed as your “friend” on Facebook they can also see how much time you are spending online during your personal hours.
In many cases I have seen several examples where clients point blankly ask the photographer they became “friends” with why they are playing around online and not editing their photos.
Now I’m a friendly easy going guy but if I had a client who I accepted a friend request from chide me for posting stuff on Facebook during my personal hours when they think I should be editing every time I sit behind a computer. Then I’ll kindly remind them that I have a life outside of photography and then quickly find the “delete this friend” option.
So how I operate is I let all new clients know where they can find my Facebook photography page and tell them I’ll be posting “teaser shots” at my business page.
By doing so I keep my clients centralized from my personal life.
But let’s say you still are OK with having an open book policy and want to be able to have your clients as your Facebook friends but you don’t want them seeing your dirty laundry so to speak.
That’s where the Facebook lists come into play.
When a client sends you a friend requests you can click:
- Add friend
- The hover over the friend request sent box
- The select the list you want to add them to
Since Facebook already has an Acquaintances list by default that’s the one I use.
Now to manage what your new listed friend can see scroll down the left side of the screen and find the little area marked Friends and click on the grey text that says “Friends.”
Once there you’ll see at the very bottom of the menu you are presented with is a link marked “Restricted” and that’s where you want to put your new client-friend.
The beauty of the restricted list is that your client will only see posts from you that are marked as “public” and nothing else.
They won’t know they’re in a restricted list or that you’re surfing Facebook and sharing what you and your family are doing for the weekend unless you set your posts to “Public” share.
Now you won’t have to worry about insulting a client by ignoring their friend requests or by posting your personal life and them wondering when you’re going to quit playing around and get back to editing their pictures.
So how many of you accept friend requests from clients? Why or why not?