Should you be Facebook friends with your clients? Absolutely. Why not? Our studies have shown five years of evidence that getting social improves the business relationship. The larger question to us is when and how should you do it?
LinkedIn is a little different; if you see a client there, connect indiscriminately. Facebook is much more personal; you have to earn the right to connect. If I met you at a function this week, I might readily accept your LinkedIn connection request, but probably not a Facebook friend request. Our latest 2016 research1 speaks to your affluent clients’ feelings on this matter:
46 percent would accept your friend request.
—So about half would gladly accept a friend request from you, right now.
63 percent would accept if asked in advance.
—You might say something like, “Are you on Facebook? You have to check out the pictures of my new dog.”
68 percent would accept if you share a hobby/interest.
—It helps to have a wide range of interests.
69 percent would accept if you’ve done something socially.
—This means simply taking them out to a social lunch or inviting them to a fun event.
80 percent would accept if the relationship is business/social.
—If your client perceives the relationship as more than just business, they’re more willing to let you see their pictures, interactions with family and friends, and so on.
Five Takeaways From This Research:
1. Be proactive in sending friend requests to clients, but not before you get to know them personally.
2. Get social with clients; it raises the odds they’ll let you into their network.
3. Don’t take it personally if a client doesn’t accept your friend request—some just won’t do it.
4. Don’t post inappropriate content—it tarnishes your brand.
5. Engage clients in real-life Facebook conversations, like “Are you on any social networks?”
1 n=870, $250,000+ investable or $100K+ income, fielded Q1 2016
Stephen Boswell is the COO for The Oechsli Institute and author of “Best Practices of Elite Advisors”. Kevin Nichols is the Director of Coaching for The Oechsli Institute and author of “The Indispensable LinkedIn Sales Guide for Financial Advisors”.