How to (And How NOT to) Talk About Your Clients Online
Here I am, sharing our new series on connecting with clients and customers.
In "Connecting with Customers,” I'm sharing five personal customer experiences I've had that provide great insights on how to connect with customers better as a small business.
We’re focusing on this because there’s a lot you can do to improve your client / customer experience, even though so much of experience can be situational and out of your control.
In today's story, we'll look at:
BEST PRACTICES FOR TALKING ABOUT YOUR CLIENTS ONLINE AND WITH OTHERS
I haven’t seen many articles on this subject but I really think it’s an underrated one. Have you ever stopped to consider what’s appropriate (and inappropriate) to share about your clients or customers online?
Here’s why you need to and how we’re going to do that today to grow your business well, and for the longhaul, with a healthy, well-respected brand.
With the internet, stay aware that everyone can see what you share. Don’t write anything about your clients you wouldn’t want them to see.
Awhile ago, I got a LinkedIn message from a coach I really respected - checking in to see how I was. We had spoken 1-2 years prior about possibly working together but the timing wasn’t right.
After one question about how I was, this coach lept into a pitch for his services. Taken aback by the pitch, I thanked him for the interest but turned down his offer.
Cut to: the next day on Facebook, where I also follow this coach. I see him post this update to his Facebook business page:
Been reaching out to prospective clients from 1-2 years ago. They didn’t work with me then, and guess where they are now? Stuck!
Ugh. I was done. Unfollow.
This person really didn’t think that I would see that status, or they didn’t care, and both are a problem for his brand. I was a big fan before and this was a huge turnoff. Not to mention the fact that I was thriving and wasn’t stuck, so it was all pretty insulting and tone deaf.
This is just one example.
I’ve also seen this happen with designers who serve clients and serve other designers. I’ve taken recorded courses where the designer will COMPLAIN about terrible clients they’ve had (assuming their course audience is other designers who can relate) and it all comes off strange. What if a prospective client is taking a course? These are things to consider.
Everybody vents. Everybody has client horror stories. But there are appropriate and more private venues for it - Facebook and recorded courses are definitely not it (if you’re trying to serve both sides of the fence).
If you’re constantly bashing your clients or customers somewhere online or often in person, it’s getting back to them. You may not be hearing about it, but I promise you- it’s hurting your business and affecting your brand.
So keep in mind: you’ve got to be careful about how you talk about prospective and current clients/customers because they are the reason you have a business.
Here’s what to avoid when talking about clients and customers on your website, social media, and even in-person:
- Anything disparaging (personally or professionally)
- Anything confidential
- Directly naming clients or their businesses if you’re sharing behind-the-scenes stories with potential negative connotations
- Anything that you wouldn’t want them to read or have someone else tell them about
And here’s what to DO when talking about or sharing about clients and customers:
- Anecdotes that are complimentary to a client's work or their business
- Quotes clients have provided you via testimonials or client interviews
- Anything you think they’d enjoy reading about themselves or having someone mention to them
- Case studies / portfolio posts that share your experience with them and their business in a positive light (a happy ending of results, success, etc.)
- Sharing their social media updates (like their website launches), liking their statuses, and publicly supporting them as appropriate
If you’ve got anything in the first bucket, delete what you can and keep this in mind next time you write about a client, even if it’s for a different target audience.
And if you’re feeling up to some action, make it a goal to share something positive about your clients this week. You might be surprised how the goodwill comes back to you.
What's Coming Next Week?
In Part 4, I'll be talking about how to delight your clients and amp up your client experience.
What questions or stories do you have about customer experience and branding? Let me know - I'd love to hear your thoughts.
The Importance of Business Reputation (Business In Focus Magazine)