To Friend, Or Not To Friend

“Do you friend your wedding clients on Facebook, Dave?”

The above inquiry is one that comes up often with mobile DJs and is the question I will be answering this week. My decision on the matter has led, in part, to greater success in the relationships I have both inside and outside of business.

For many, social media is a private place reserved for everything but business. Some treat Facebook as a digital scrapbook where they can write about what’s going on, share articles and post images without any concern over the impact those things might have on business. That unforgettable trip to Vegas, the crazy night out with the guys, one’s take on recent political issues…it’s ALL out there. Sometimes, when self-employed, it is best to keep those things private. But like anything, quite the opposite can also be true.

As a single op DJ/MC, I friend all of my wedding couples on Facebook.

My reasons for doing this are relatively simple. I want to become part of their lives in a manner that goes deeper then a simple financial transaction, and by providing me access to their Facebook profiles, my wedding couples provide me further insight into who they are as people…people outside of our planning sessions. The more connected I am with them personally, the easier and more effective it is to produce my work for them as their DJ and their MC.

Through this same avenue, my wedding couples are provided the opportunity to celebrate the life moments I choose to share on Facebook and they are given glimpses into my family life and the things that are important to me. Aware of the fact that I AM my brand, connecting on social media provides me further opportunity to paint the picture for them of who Dave Ternier is.

I will provide a word of caution and acknowledge that you will begin to question what you share on Facebook. Adding this new stream of relationships to your social media circle will (hopefully!) cause you to become more accountable and more “business appropriate.” Put your dirty laundry in the washing machine and keep it off of Facebook, okay? And don’t be a jerk on social. No one wants a jerk representing them at their wedding. Becoming friends with your wedding couples on Facebook adds accountability to that.

As trivial as this might sound, sharing small moments of engagement — a “like” here, a comment there — will create a stronger bond between you and your wedding couples. On wedding day, you’ll treat them more as a friend and less of a transaction and they too, will treat you less like a transaction and more like a friend.

Post event, my wedding couples often tag me in shared wedding photographs and posts on Facebook. These tags lead to greater awareness for their Facebook friends, in a very strong word-of-mouth fashion, about who I am, what I do and what I create.

Down the road when someone asks about planning a wedding, my past wedding couples might quickly tag my name in a comment, which often turns into additional referrals. Win, win, win.

But do I really want to share everything I post on Facebook with my wedding couples? In my case, the answer is no. (Surprise!)

Thankfully, Facebook has put tools in place that allow us to identify each of our Facebook friends by placing them on a “Friends List.” This allows you to choose the audience of everything you post on Facebook as “public” or limited to a certain friend list (see here and here for more on this). In my case, for example, all DJ related posts I share on Facebook are not visible to anyone outside of those on my “DJ Colleagues” friend list. Alternatively, there are some things I post to Facebook where I set the audience to all of my Facebook friends except those on my “DJ Colleagues” friend list. Facebook is a powerful tool. Learn it well; use it appropriately.

After receiving the signed agreement and paid booking fee for a wedding, I invite that wedding couple (through the event confirmation email) to reach out on Facebook and add me as a friend. If they don’t take action based on that part of the email, I will find them on Facebook and send them a friend request. Some do not accept my friend request, but the overwhelming majority of them do.

Social media has become a tool for me in which I create a closer relationship to the wedding couples I work with. In my quest to provide my wedding couples an experience that is every bit as unique as I am, I enjoying giving them access to the life I make public on Facebook. In return, I appreciate the life they share with me.

Through this mutual openness toward one another on Facebook, my couples and I develop a better understanding of who the other is and that aids with my performance at their wedding as I work to represent them in the best possible manner.

So…to friend, or not to friend? I say, friend away!

~ Dave

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