A friend asked me yesterday at a dinner party, “What do you do for business today?” When I looked surprised she quipped: “With all due respect, I never know your business. It morphs every time I talk to you”…and she is right!
We started the social media branch of our company when Facebook “grew-up” and opened its doors to the over 20-year-olds. We saw an opportunity with new age advertising and jumped on the bandwagon. Since then, every day is a new day! Social media platforms morph right before our eyes and we have to keep up with the changes. So we are continuously forced out of our comfort zones.
Now, how do you explain this to our clients who are paying good money to increase engagement, impressions and sales? Managing expectations is one answer but not the only answer. Most people come to us with the strong hopes of building their business and their brands. When we accept the contract there is a silent agreement that we will do what’s in our power to help them succeed.
Creating a partnership with your client
Once we work with a new client, every aspect of their business is examined. We discuss goals and objectives and are very clear about what we would like to do and what we can do. Given that platforms change we make it very clear that what worked last month does not necessarily work this week. For example, Facebook makes changes on the fly and it sometimes affects the advertising budget. All of this including potential “hidden costs” have to be outlined from the start. Then a client has the choice to add to the budget or stay put. Financial control should always be on the customer side. Next we tackle sales.
Work closely with a company’s sales team
If the client wants sales from our social media efforts, then we have to go to the source — the sales team.
Time to get under the hood; who are the customers, what do they want? We mostly work with consumer products that in turn work with retail and e-tail partners. In this changing climate we have noticed that as an advertising agency, we no longer tell the consumer what they want – rather, consumers tell us what they want! And, we have to listen. Social media makes it possible for their voices to be heard.
We strongly encourage the client’s sales team to check their social media channels to get an idea of what the consumer responds to and what he wants. We then collaborate to push promotions that will resonate with the consumers.
Develop a strategic marketing plan with specific benchmarks
When a client comes on board they usually have previously worked with a social media team. Many times, there is confusion due to all the technology changes. As busy people they have no time to sit down and try to “figure out” what is happening; that’s why they are paying us! A strategic social media marketing plan is created with specific benchmarks and timelines for measurement.
Client communication is critical to success
You can’t blame your customers for being confused and suspicious when so many changes take place in the industry. We try to build trust by being crystal clear on what we can and can’t deliver.
Imagine this scenario: you offer a proposal to a client with a great campaign idea that is free…Wait, that was last week! Here is this unanticipated cost that is not in the budget. If we don’t want to add any money to the estimate then we include additional initiatives that are “optional” and out of the scope of the project.
Every so often we revisit all of our client’s marketing strategies and carefully go over changes and expectations. We make adjustments accordingly so a comfort zone is met on all levels.
It’s best to position yourself as your client’s partner or as a member of their team. In this business, flexibility is of the essence. But also keep in mind that you as an agency have been navigating tech changes for many years and you are in the best position to guide your clients.
Are you overwhelmed by social media marketing changes? You can continue to chat with me on Twitter @websuccess