Avoiding the Shiny Object Syndrome with Social Media Clients

Avoiding the Shiny Object Syndrome with Social Media Clients

The biggest issue I come across with client relations is Shiny Object Syndrome.

A client saw something on social media and they want that reaction as well. Why not basically copy it and do it on our channels as well?

Or there’s a brand new network that’s getting a lot of press. Why aren’t we there as well?

Usually it’s one of those two things, but there are other instances as well. They just want to go after the next best thing and keep chasing it even when it’s not exactly the best course for the brand.

Is there a way to avoid this? Well, the easy way is to switch clients. Some clients are just always going to be in the headspace and there is nothing you can do to change that. But not all are stuck there. Sometimes you just have to work the problem before it happens.


If you are not taking the time to educate your client about what you do, you are going to see problems around Shiny Object Syndrome and probably others as well.

It doesn’t have to be as complicated as structured trainings. However, you might want to go that route with clients who aren’t that familiar with how social media works. It can simply sharing social media articles you have read with some notes about how it affects your current social media strategy with ideas of how to (or how not to) address it.

This kind of education will make your client feel like a respected partner, which is exactly how they should feel. It will also make them feel like you are on top of anything new that is coming down the pipeline, which may get them to relax a bit about what they need to stay on top of. And because you are constantly educating them on what you’re doing, they will bring better, more effective ideas to the table which will make your life just a bit easier.

I think some consultants worry that educating your clients on social media will eventually make them be able to do your job and fire you. I have found the opposite to be true. The more I educate, the more my clients have realized that I have an impossibly big job that they can’t even begin to do themselves. So it’s honestly a great thing to do for your job security and sanity.

Give a few shiny object wins

If you are constantly saying no to your client and putting down their ideas, your relationship is going to sour fast.

Is it ideal to only post the most effective content and leave the shiny object stuff alone? Obviously. I wouldn’t be writing this post if that weren’t the case. But you would be living in a fantasy world if you could actually make this happen completely.

In the real world, you have to give a little. So every once in awhile, as long as it won’t be completely damaging to your strategy, give a win to your client. Take their idea and give it a little direction so it comes a couple steps closer to your strategy. Then let it ride to see what happens.

If it does well, then that’s great. It might be a sign that you need to get out of the box of your strategy every once in awhile.

If it doesn’t do well, then it’s time to dissect. Don’t do it in a condescending way, because once again, you will sour the relationship with your client. Do it in a way where you can both learn from what happened and talk about how you can both make it more successful in the future.

Treating your client as a co-creator will work in your favor on future work and get you closer to where you want to be.

Have a standard

Something in my stomach always kind of drops when a new social network starts getting tons of press. Will my clients ask me about it? Do they think they should be there? Will they think it’s as easy as copying content from one network to another?

How I start addressing this is by looking at our audience. Are they early adopters? In the industries I work in, it’s very rare that we have an audience full of early adopters. That usually will shut down the argument before it begins. But if a client is really adamant, then creating an account and directing potential fans to our website is our first step. Then we take a wait and see approach to see if we need to take it further.

But if they want to take it further, have demographics of your audience always at the ready. You should know this anyway for previous decisions about where and what to post. And this should also be a part of your educating process. Mention demographics of your audience regularly to always connect your client back to the why of what you are doing. If you are doing that, it can be as simple as showing them the demographics of the network they want to bounce into. If you haven’t done the education piece up front, however, you have to go a step backwards. Teach them about what you do before you even get to the suitability of this new network.

Shiny Object Syndrome is continually a problem both for social media managers and the clients they work with. If you are constantly chasing after what’s new, there’s a chance that you will miss what actually works.

That is not to say that everything that is new isn’t necessarily good for your strategy. Just make sure everyone is educated and have a standard to measure against when it comes to these new networks. You can then objectively decide if something new is actually for you. The answers become very clear pretty quickly if you are doing that work ahead of time.

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