A laugh. Sometimes a rousing, "Don't even get me started!"
This is what I've heard on multiple occasions when I've joked about clients and social media with other consultants and agency founders. Clients are notorious for saying they want help with their social media, only to ghost you when you tell them you need photos, videos, and information to do your job properly.
They get busy, they decide you'll just magically figure it out, they bump it to the bottom of their priority list every day...I'm not really sure what happens.
I just know it happens, and you're left to either get creative, get frustrated and fire the client, or get fired yourself.
The creative route is not always fun. Or at least, I don't have fun with it. Because I feel like I'm not doing my clients any good, and I feel like I'm posting a bunch of stilted content that's a real reach. Sometimes, when there are blog posts, I can at least post those, but even blogging hasn't always been an option.
It's enough of a challenge to write social media content out of my own service offerings on more than one occasion. Only to sigh and feel obligated to write them right back into my offerings when I encounter a string of clients who ask about the service. It's part of content marketing, and as a content strategist and creator, it's something I just can't justify ignoring. As much as I've wanted to justify it.
But as it turns out, there are agencies and consultants who have figured out how to get their clients to work with them. Like the generous, kind people they are, when I reached out, they were happy to share their best tips and tricks for giving clients a social media education and getting them to do what they need to do.
Hit the basics and don’t assume they know anything
"The first thing you should ask your clients if whether or not they take pictures or videos. 90% of the time the client will say 'yes, I have tons of pictures - but what good will that do for social media?'
At this point, I always tell them that this is gold mine original content —online users love seeing this type of stuff. Telling your client an example of what you could say for a particular photo is a great way to give them an idea of how fun, informative, and professional you can make their social posts.
For example: A client of mine was in the sheet metal fabrication business. They completed an order for a Jeep driver that required tons of custom metal fabrication work and sandblasting. They had a before and after picture - both of which looked stunning. I told the client that this picture was worth a thousand words and all I will add to this particular post is'#ItsAJeepThing' He loved the idea!"
Ask clients how involved they want to be
"The most important thing is to ask right away at the beginning how involved they want to be—some clients really want to be completely hands off, in which case it's important to gather all necessary information and resources right from the start.
Some like to be a little more involved, approving captions and offering information wherever needed. And some like to do the work with your guidance. I think figuring out which bucket the client falls into is the most important first step."
"I have a long and effective conversation with the client before I accept a project. I give them information on how things are done, and how without their support, their investment in the project will generate low ROI. These words, "Low ROI," will trigger the client.
No client wants low ROI. This little word "trigger" makes my clients engage in the process from the very beginning."
"Give your client a “barebones” plan for maintaining their social media account active (i.e post daily, browse/add other pages, interact with posts from influencers, etc). This way even if they don’t have a lot of time, they can at least give their fans/followers the 'perception' that the page is alive.
Offer your services on a part-time or “checkup” basis. So if they are really busy and can’t use their social media, you can log in as needed to keep their accounts going."
"We build them a content library.
This a place where all they content lives. A solution for small businesses could be Google Drive, Google photos, Dropbox or Vimeo. It doesn't matter where, but we want all content in a single place that can be easily searched and skimmed."
"Make it fun. Give them ideas to produce that personable content, like a short show-and-tell video for FB about new products that rolled in.
They will rarely say no to showing off the products and services they are passionate about. Have a high-tech client? Maybe they do experiments or neat programming tricks that would be cool to see."
"We get our clients motivated by helping them develop a social media calendar which we have shared access to. This makes them feel as though we may check in on their progress which encourages them to use it more.
We create mini goals, small achievable ones which the client can work towards and which encourages them to dedicate time to achieving them. We then have weekly catch up calls where we check in on their progress. This has made them get excited about seeing progress."
Take time on the front end with social media education
So, there you have it! Clients can be led into providing marketers with enough support to get social media marketing done the right way.
In fact, it's possible you were doing too much for them all along, instead of investing the time and energy to coach, coordinate, brainstorm, and educate with clients at the beginning of the process. After hearing from these folks, I'm sure I was.
What's your tip for training your clients on social media? If you've got a good one, don't be shy. Leave a comment and tell us about it!