This is the tale of two clients and how their participation affects my success in managing their social media presence.
I recently got an early morning email from a client who heard a report about his organization on our local public radio station. It was a good interview and great local media exposure. Unfortunately, this happened on the one morning I had not listened obsessively to NPR because I needed to concentrate on client work. I was caught short but after his communication I shared the interview on Facebook and Twitter, and the Facebook post created a high level of engagement.
The day before, his boss had told me about an upcoming action in our community that would affect their clients. The CEO had put together an official response so they would be ready. My client copied me on their emails so I understood the situation and their position. I was made aware that they wanted to stay out of the media spotlight–and that meant social media, too. Knowing when not to post is very important.
Since then, I’ve received a number of emails with good ideas (and photos!) for additional posts from other staff members and volunteers. These people really want to spread the good news and the right news. They already had good-sized followings on two Facebook pages but not enough staff time/energy to maintain them. I’m stepping in for the time being to rebuild awareness and community.
When I take a new social media client, I research and plan. I interview the client about likes, dislikes, and hopes for their social media presence. I learn about the mission and key audiences, read their communications, check media reports about them, and review what they’ve already done in social media. I am prepared.
I always have a list of ideas for posts and tweets, some of which are for specific times and some of which can be used on any given day. I also set up Google Alerts and follow their leaders on news.le. But these sources are not always timely enough. So when it comes to breaking news, the client’s participation is key. When you outsource social media, you need to stay in touch. For me, just a quick email or text from my client is all that’s needed.
I have another client who rarely communicates with me about what’s going on. Their website is not updated very often, and they don’t have a blog. I know a lot about their work and hunt down any useful information I can find with help from Google Alerts, but it’s still difficult to come up with original content. As a result, their Twitter account tends to have a higher proportion of retweets. Their following is growing slowly, as are their @ mentions, and not at the rate I’d like to see. I hope we can turn the situation around to increase their credibility and engagement levels. It just requires more teamwork.
There is a raging debate in the marketing and social media communities about this. I think it can work if the client is supportive and communicative, and the consultant is a mature individual who understands the client’s business, is a good team player, and can think strategically. What do you think? Any personal successes or failures with social media outsourcing?