Recently I have been getting a lot of requests for Facebook friend connections and many have been rejected or blocked. I welcome friend requests on my personal page (for now – at least until I hit the arbitrary limits set by Facebook). I feel that some of these people may just not understand the process, so I decided to write a brief guide to Facebook Friending.

The blocked/rejected requests meet the some or part of the following profile:

  • They have pictures of a handsome guy or gorgeous girl, usually three selfies, and little else.
  • If it’s a guy, quite often the pictures imply they are in the military, if female, the pictures are usually highly sexualized. If I accept them, they immediately ping me in Messenger, usually with one word, “Hi” or “Hello”.
  • If I engage them, the conversation immediately starts with compliments on my looks, where I live, what I am doing at the moment. I’m Facebooking at the moment, and I don’t comment on what I am wearing. Next question?
  • The next question is often something creepy. I am not certain what these people are after, but I don’t think I want to know. So they end up blocked. I suspect most of them are looking for sex, or are scammers looking for a mark, but some of them may be legit, and just don’t know the basics. So I’d like to pass along the following tips for Facebook Friending.

White Hat Tips:

1) Don’t even think about friending strangers if you have no content on your wall. At the very least, say something about yourself. Share some links. Get at least two to three weeks under your belt and friend some real-life friends before you start building out a friend list.

2) Do not make more than 5 new friend requests per day. Facebook tends to be persnickety about multiple requests, even though they are constantly bombarding you with recommendations for friends. I usually limit mine to 3. If you go too far over, Facebook will usually send you a warning, but lately they have been blocking accounts that look suspicious.

3) Join groups that meet your niche criteria. Think outside the box a bit. Figure out your target demographic, and what other interests you may have in common. Join those groups too.

4) Don’t cross post the same photo, blog link, or content to all your groups at once. Anyone who follows you will immediately see all those posts at once, and it’s a big tip-off that you are “marketing” to them. Rotate the content. Make it meaningful and on topic. READ THE GROUP GUIDELINES before you post ANYTHING.

5) Friend people who have the most friends in common with you. You want to build a niche of legitimate people who share the interests of your niche. People who have multiple friends in common are also more likely to accept new friends.

6) Look at your new friend’s wall and engage them on their content in a real way. Do NOT immediately message a new friend with “Hi” or “Hello”. It’s awkward, uncomfortable, and makes them think you might be a scammer or spammer. Single women will be extremely suspicious of this. You might as well come straight out and say you are looking for sex or money.

7) If you have no, or few friends in common, PM them and tell them why you are interested in being friends. You saw their post on a group, you like their content. Or engage them on their wall. Ask some questions about their content. Often, they will send you a friend request. If they don’t allow comments, then move on. Those people are not looking for new friends online.

8) If English is your second language, and you want to gain customers in English-speaking countries, it may be helpful to get a social media manager who speaks good English to maintain your social media calendar. Google translate just doesn’t cut it. Same goes for Spanish, French, any language. It’s obvious to your customers, and whether it is a legitimate reason for concern or not, it can be a red flag to many. If you are making software, ask your beta testers to review your marketing material, and give them free upgrades etc. for their assistance. Mention them in the splash page, give them a link from your site. Lots of people are happy to chip in if their contributions are acknowledged. Having a sense of humor about the situation and addressing it openly also helps assuage concerns. Most people are happy to help you learn their language if you are sincerely interested.

9) Straight guys, if your agenda is sex, ignore everything I have said. That way the ladies can block you quicker. If you are looking for a relationship, that’s a different story. Most women want to be appreciated for our minds first, our looks second. Complimenting my appearance only makes me think you are a shallow guy out for casual sex. And that gets you written off at once. Engage her on her areas of interest. It’s worth the effort.

10) If your agenda is business, don’t jump right into sales. Successful social media marketing is built on the “social” part of the equation. Build a relationship. Offer helpful tips, information, respond when people ask questions. Cold call techniques aren’t completely out of the question, but use discretion and caution.

11) Ignore everything I have said if you are looking to scam someone. Take your talent and do something productive with it. If you put in a little effort and solve a problem, create something new, or fill a need, you will make more in the long run, and feel good looking in the mirror in the morning. Not to mention sleep better at night.

Some other red flags:

  • They have a name that clearly doesn’t match the gender chosen
  • Names that don’t seem real
  • Pornography on their wall (seems obvious, but some people need to be told not to do that)
  • Nothing but MLM sales material on their wall

Have I missed anything? Any red flags you notice when reviewing friend requests? Pet peeves? Let me know.