I’m settled into my trusty recliner with a cup of coffee. The dogs are down in their home in the basement, which we affectionately call “Hell.” The cat is sleepily looking out the window while cuddled up on his cat tree. And the baby… she’s cooing to herself as she decides whether she is awake or going back to sleep. This is as good a time as any to make my move. It’s time to come back from maternity leave and look for a new social media client.
Did I ever take a real maternity leave? Not so much. Due to a high risk pregnancy that had me going from doctor to doctor to make sure my baby came safely into this world, I had to start working part-time, and I then continued that for the first six months of my darling girl’s life. But now we’re all in a place where working full-time is the right call for me.
So I thought I would start with this blog post. Yes, I am finally taking new clients, but not just any new clients. They have to be the right fit.
My definition of the “right fit” is not every social media person’s definition, but… I think we might be closer than a lot of us will ever admit.
So if you are looking for how to get your social media employee, agency or consultant to get the results you need, then ask yourself if you are being a good social media client to them. And here’s where you start:
Are you listening?
It’s rare, but I have had clients hire me and ignore everything I have told them. Now, this is on the extreme end of things. Most people will only ignore their social media person some of the time. That can look like not inviting them to a meeting about a project that will require social media support, creating graphics without their input, etc. And then when you finally bring that person in, it’s too late to make changes and they have to try to make a campaign work on social media when it was never created for social media in the first place.
Yes, if you never talked to your social media person during the creation of a campaign, you never created a campaign for social media. And this? I hear about this often from others who work in social media. A campaign is dumped on them at the last minute and they are left with the consequences of it not working.
So how do we change this?
- Bring your social media person to the meeting. It’s as simple as that. If you will be discussing something that will need social media support in any way, make sure they are there to give you feedback on what works and what does not.
- Have a solo meeting with your social media person. Open and honest communication is always key. Ask them for feedback on how you listen and what you can do better. And if the feedback is not in your favor? Commit to do one thing better. We can’t change overnight. So work on one thing you know you can do and then make sure you schedule regular check-ins to ensure you are making progress.
Are you learning?
My best clients over the years have been the ones who are lifelong learners. They are able to participate in a way that makes content even better, and I love the give and take they bring to the table.
Does that mean you need to be reading every blog post and listening to every podcast out there? Absolutely not. You hired an expert for a reason and that’s likely because you don’t have time.
In my case, I have found these people ask questions along the way and listen to my answers (yes, listening is always the key). When I see this is happening, I will take the time to explain things proactively.
And I cannot say this enough: It does not matter where your knowledge of social media is when you start working with me. If you have an interest in learning more, I will always meet you where you are and help you work towards where you can be a more active participant if that is what you want.
If you haven’t taken the time to learn in the past, what can you do to turn things around?
- Be real about what your social media knowledge currently is. Like I said, you don’t have to know everything. So if you start off with a real assessment of what your knowledge is, you will have a better idea of where you can go next.
- If there is something you don’t understand, ask questions. A lot of people who work in social media are natural teachers. We will help you with no judgment. And if you are finding some judgment, maybe it’s time to find another social media person.
- Ask for learning resources. No, you don’t have to read every blog, but finding ways to expand your knowledge is always a good thing. Any good social media person has a list of ways they keep on top of the latest trends. Ask if they would share some of that with you and dip into it from time to time.
Are you having fun?
There is almost always room for bringing more fun to your social media, whether you find it in the planning, execution or the results.
One of my clients recently had a fan brag on social media about something this client had done for them. And I kid you not, my client and I sent each other basically the same excited message. Lots of laughs later, we were able to then reuse that content to get more people connected to the program this fan used.
Overall, fans can tell if the people behind the account do not enjoy what they are doing. They are more likely to engage with content from those who love what they they do. No matter how you try to hide it, I assure you the your feelings or those of your social media person will always seep into the work. So to combat that, you have to find ways to make this fun.
- Be a cheerleader. This is my favorite thing to do and I wish more people did it. If you see someone doing something great, tell them how awesome they are. And don’t just look for those big things. Cheer on the smaller wins as well. I cheer on every small win my clients have. They work hard and they deserve it. The same is true of your social media person.
- Say what you appreciate. This is something new-ish that I’ve been doing, and I like the mental aspect of it. I don’t know how we started doing this, but one of my client meetings always ends with us saying something we appreciate that the other did over the last month. It’s organic and doesn’t feel forced at all. But it does make both of us feel valued.
- Brag. Not enough of us brag about our accomplishments and numbers have always seemed so sterile to me. They don’t always tell the real story of what is going on. So ask your social media person to weekly tell you about something that got them excited. It could be a new social media update that is stirring their brains in a new direction or it could be a fan getting the help they need. Opening this moment up for their brag can then help you be their biggest cheerleader.
Yes, it takes a lot of work to be a great social media client. But in the end, the results will be worth it.
So whether you are looking for that new social media consultant or you need advice on how to do better with your current person, feel free to drop me an email at betsy(at)badconsultingllc.com. I am back and willing to talk you through any social media issue you are currently facing.