Facebook has opened up a bright new online community of socially conscious people who are using this website as a platform for sharing information, making new acquaintances and marketing businesses online. While this is a great way to build a following of loyal fans and readers, there is still some etiquette that needs to stay in place when communicating using social media.
A new relatively phenomena has emerged in which copy writers are communicating almost exclusively with clients on facebook, as opposed to traditional telephone or email methods. Writers (and other freelancers) are searching for potential clients on facebook, befriending them, followed by sending introductory messages. On the other side, businesses, web content companies and web developers are seeking out talented copy writers and inviting them to get on board with writing gigs. It’s basically business networking on speed!
But before you get all excited about using facebook to find and communicate with new copy writing clients, here are some things to watch out for:
1. Facebook messaging can lead to miscommunications. Sure, sending off a nice little message to a potential client can be fun, but it can also lead to certain communication snafu’s. For example, some companies prefer to be contacted through other means like email or contact form. Many get bombarded with so many inquiries, they simply block out these messages. Some may even look at your attempts as a form of unsolicited “spam” and you could turn some people off or worse yet – get banned from facebook. Remember, don’t go overboard with your inquiries and research the company fully before attempting initial communication.
2. Facebook is not a sales platform. One of the biggest pet peeves of users of social media is that some people use it as a way to continually pitch their products and services. Nothing is more annoying than allowing someone onto a followers list and then seeing just a bunch of poorly written sales pitches in every micro-feed. Think of it in terms of meeting new people in person for the first time. You wouldn’t immediately launch into a sales speech, would you? Respect others and lay off the overly sales oriented posts. Limit yourself to a sales type post once a week.
3. Beware of links in facebook messages. Unfortunately, we live in a world where scamming others and stealing information run rampant. When getting a facebook message that includes a link to a so-called “opportunity”, use extreme caution. There are an increased number of scammers sending out links that include malware, viruses and other nasties on facebook, twitter and other social media websites. If something looks fishy, report it to facebook security and don’t allow your computer or personal information to become easy prey.
4. Nothing beats old fashioned forms of communication. I would like to say, from personal experience, that using facebook as a primary means of communication with copy writing clients is not really a good idea. For one, it’s impersonal. Messages don’t always reach the other person in a timely fashion. As much as facebook has become a place to share personal thoughts, these can also backfire and offend some people. Additionally, as a business person you should be using the telephone and email as much as you use facebook to get to know your clients. It’s the sign of a polished, and confident copy writer to be comfortable with all forms of communication, so don’t limit yourself to facebook for this purpose.
What do you think? Do you use facebook to communicate with clients – why or why not?