Often in presentations I hear: when it comes to social media keep professional contacts on LinkedIn and avoid connecting to work related folks on Facebook. I am not sure that I agree with this mantra.
Yes, Facebook is more personal. I make jokes with my friends, post pictures of my off times, I become fans of my favorite movies, music, and groups, update my status to where I went to dinner last night, and much more. However, I make sure that there is nothing on my page that would embarrass me. I believe that is just as bad for my friends to see as much as anyone else.
I actually enjoy connecting with clients and co-workers (not sure how my employees feel about it, though–I am connected to all of them). Why do I like it? Because I think business and work are about relationships – people work with who they like.
The great thing about being connected to clients is to understand their likes and dislikes. If I know a client is a fan of the Indians, I’ll invite them to the next home game. Send my client that loves scotch a bottle, and tell another client that the restaurant they are headed to tonight is one of my favorites and they have to try the filet.
The connection is reciprocal too. You would be surprised how many clients comment on a status about me going to a game, the dog park, or the event I am heading to.
At the end of the day, I really do think business is all about relationships. If you are posting things on Facebook your professional contacts would disapprove of, then connecting on Facebook is not a good idea for you and you need to re-think what you are publicizing. I am okay with my life being a little bit of an open book – many people will appreciate seeing me as a fellow human being.
In closing, don’t be so afraid to make some professional friends. The more connected you are, the better the working relationship becomes.