Communication Between the Client and the Social Media Consultant

Over the years, I have had many different kinds of clients with many different communication styles. I’m adaptable, so I tend to take my lead from the client and make my systems suit them. Is it sometimes like putting a square screw into a round hole? For sure. But, eventually, with lots of listening from both of us, we get to a system that works.

However, I still do have my preferences for how communication works. This doesn’t reflect all social media consultants’ preferences, but I think it’s probably a good start anyway if you are working with a new consultant.

Don’t surprise me

A big event was going on for a client, and I had been briefed on everything happening as a part of the event. Or so I thought. Lo and behold, some very important news dropped and fans immediately were online asking questions about the news. I froze. Not only did I have no idea this news was coming, but I had no details about it and no way to reach those who did because they were in the middle of producing this event. So questions went unanswered for a long while until I could finally reach those people and get the answers fans were looking for. To say this was not fun is an understatement.

On the flip side, I used to have a client who was amazing. We always devoted a part of our meetings to things that might anger the community. I knew what to look for and sent her feedback about relevant comments. We both got exactly what we needed simply because I was aware.

I am a big fan of over-communicating. I know what is coming and can respond appropriately to fans. You may not go the route of telling a consultant everything that might anger your community, but you could certainly give them a heads up about what is going on at your organization, especially things that might come up online. Keeping in mind that social media is more than just what you post will go a long way in this area.

Communication is also listening

I have a simple rule: I will do whatever you want me to do as long as you listen to why it might not be the right thing to do. I understand that you, as a client, may have priorities that don’t align with what is technically correct in the social media world. It just makes me feel better if I know you know it’s not technically correct.

Why? So I know you are aware of what you are asking. I want to make sure we are doing our best to expand the reach on our posts and continually breaking certain rules will start to hamper that. So making it the exception rather than the standard is very important both to me and for your goals.

But also, taking the time to listen to me is just a sign of respect. As a client, you are paying for this knowledge that I’m sharing, and I want to make sure you get what you pay for. Not listening and being flippant makes me wonder why you hired me. And if it becomes a habit, I become more hesitant to share my knowledge, which isn’t a great situation for either of us.

Yes, we live in a fast paced world where things need to just happen. But by taking five minutes, mistakes will be prevented and you will get further along in the long run.

Get into co-creating

All of my favorite clients have something in common: They co-create. They love being a part of the process and learning new things as we go along. And then they get excited about adding their own contributions, which many times demonstrate they have learned a lot from what we have done together.

Look, I may be in the minority, but I love when clients get involved. Not because I am lazy and want to see my clients do all of my work. It’s because they’re usually super enthusiastic about what they’re doing and that gets infused into the post, which always helps a post do better than it would otherwise. They then get excited to see how their content does. I love giving real-time feedback from fans in these cases. I can’t tell you how many slap happy text conversations I’ve gotten into over this kind of content.

There should be some joy in work. When we find these moments together, it just makes life better, and I’m so grateful for them.

Having great communication with your social media consultant makes it easier to find those moments of joy and makes working together so much easier. Please take the time to communicate as much as you’re able, but remember it’s a two-way street, so listening and showing how you’re applying what you have heard is such an important part of that communication. Put the work in and you’ll get so many rewards.

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