Social media is a medium that requires participation. At its core, people are talking to people. When it comes to businesses, they too have to participate. Many marketers are feeling powerless because they have clients (or bosses) who don’t embrace social media but at the same time, expect unrealistic outcomes.
Over time, this scenario produces a feeling of impotence within marketers, which is difficult to cope with while trying to cultivate social media ROI.
I would like to stop this madness. How about you?
Let’s foster a solution so that both sides can co-exist and find common ground.
We’ve all been here.
You get a call or email from someone who “wants to do social media.” The prospect has no real social media presence and often their website is lacking the core components to compete in today’s market. These are people who need support and guidance…and it’s your desire to help them. Finding common ground would be useful, no?
At first glance, this can seem promising. It will register to your brain that you’ve got an enthusiastic prospect, but this can sometimes be an illusion. You find that you go through your initial process and learn that what they really wanted is for somebody to relieve their pain by posting some stuff on Facebook.
Social media is so much more than posting stuff on Facebook.
Many questionable vendors are only too happy to take the client’s money and give them exactly what they asked for: “Post stuff on Facebook.” But you’re different.Your intention is to make an impact on those you serve. You genuinely want your client to reach their goals.
When clients don’t embrace social media, and leave content and community building solely up to the marketer, a feeling of ineffectiveness can creep in.
The good news is there are tactics available to alleviate some of the frustration.
How to Avoid Feeling Impotent When Clients Don’t Embrace Social Media
Let’s face it, we all need to make a living but when your client or boss doesn’t embrace social media, there’s no solution that will magically turn their digital reputation around.
These tips will help you cope with what you’ve got and help you be more deliberate about the actions you take going forward.
1. Set yourself up for success by attracting the right clients.
You will not attract the right clients if you don’t know who they are.
Establish who your right client is – who your IDEAL client is. Write down their exact attributes, down to what they look like and their core values.
2. Create a process for qualifying clients.
Determine the prospect’s level of commitment using a short questionnaire.
Our process at Kruse Control is to use Gravity Forms to ask prospects for answers about their business, which lead us to determine their level of commitment to social media. This process helps clarify if we’re a good fit.
3. Set up a short call to discuss their answers.
If the prospect seems like they’re your IDEAL client, offer a 30-minute call to explore the answers they provided. It will open up opportunities for you to dive deeper into their answers by asking, “Tell me a little bit more about that.”
4. If you decide to work together, include a cooperation clause in your agreement.
I’m a firm believer in making solid, no-nonsense agreements with clients. You don’t have to speak “legalize,” in fact, it’s better not to. We include a Cooperation Clause (Section) where we outline what they can expect from us, what we will deliver and what we expect from them.
Clients don’t always live up to this but I’ve always felt that it’s better than not letting them know what to expect, especially with participation and content creation. Social media is overwhelming for clients so it’s your job to be their sherpa.
5. Give clients (and yourself) a process for communication.
When you decide to work together, that’s only the beginning of your project. Clients have no idea how you’re going to provide awesome solutions to meet their goals, and this is a precarious place to be without a process.
It’s always best to have one client-designated contact who will manage their side of the project. Input and feedback are so important, especially in the beginning when you’re establishing a communication process.
Pro Tip: Create a Slack thread where the client can easily drop in content or ideas. It keeps the communication lines open and makes it uber-simple for them to provide images and video files.
6. Learn to recognize the uneasy feeling.
Even the most efficient process for client on-boarding and communications isn’t 100% effective. There will be times when, through no one’s fault, things start to go sideways. For me, it’s usually something small that grows larger with time.
Often, you can address the small issues with clients and things can move in an even better direction. But other times, the small things begin to increase and you start feeling powerless.
The “uneasy feeling” is your intuition. It’s urging you to pay attention.
Recognize and acknowledge the feeling. This will allow you to determine next steps.
7. Hold strong to your core beliefs and values.
As marketers, we know there are specific components that must be present to achieve the client’s goals. If you find you’re cutting corners just to make things “easier,” examine that. Remember, you’re the expert. Your client engaged you for your insight and expertise.
Don’t ever fade on what you know needs to happen. It’s not easy but I guarantee, it’s better for everyone when you stay true to yourself.
8. Be decisive.
95% of the time, you’ll be able to rectify issues as they arise.
You need to be prepared for the other 5% because those are the situations that zap your energy.
Set a criteria in place to help you know when it’s time to have a more serious chat or in some cases, part company. Knowing when to cut the cord is never easy but determining this criteria ahead of time helps you avoid unnecessary grief.
Feeling impotent because your client is not embracing social media, even when they agreed they would, is not healthy. As a marketer, it dampens your enthusiasm for the next client.
For the client, it’s trying to turn them into something they’re not. They believed they were ready to embrace social media, they really did, but things happen. Realizations occur and while some of it is uncomfortable, it’s all positive.
The more upfront you can be with your clients the better. Words matter and the right ones just might help them make better decisions going forward.
Better decisions make for better relationships and when you help clients come to them, you’re still delivering value.
Your turn: Have you had a client or boss that doesn’t embrace social media and you’re at a loss for what to do?