Social Media Agency Guide – Don’t Be Simply a Yes Man

Social Media and Marketing Agencies are often on the forefront of innovative marketing campaigns, and most times this is done on the behalf of their clients.  Companies come to Agencies for their social media expertise and knowledge to have these innovative and result producing campaigns run.

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On the flip side, however, are times when companies can come to a marketing agency with their mind set on an idea, an idea that the agency knows has holes in it, and simply wants the agency to implement their idea.  This is a DANGER ZONE!  It is an important task of the social media professional to help the client refine the idea into a campaign that can be of value!

DON”T SIMPLY BE A “YES MAN”

As noted, a pitfall that agencies can encounter is simply saying “yes” to any client idea for the sake of business and a sale without taking the time to refine, and challenge some of the ideas that their experience knows would be better served by a different approach.

Often companies coming to a marketing agency with their own ideas may not be as social media savvy or have much experience with the best ways to add value, engage, and build a social community that has long term value. So they need educated on this!

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If a company has not been involved in social media and comes from a top-down, broadcasting, sell, sell, sell style methodology toward sales, and believes they simply need to now do this “social media thing“, by replicating their salesy broadcasting, that is a problem!  If an agency succumbs to client wishes that are contrary to the community building, value sharing,  two-way open communication model that characterizes social media marketing today, it will be a lose-lose situation!  The ROI of the campaign will be low, the client will be frustrated, and the social media agency will be doing themselves an injustice!

The Other Side: Educate and Show the Data

Social media agencies and marketing agencies can grow revenue and ultimately show the value of their skills and expertise by taking the time from the start to gently challenge the mistaken notions of would-be clients.  Failure to do so means running a half-baked campaign that the agency knows will not hit the mark!

So how can an agency educate and help direct a client away from the pitfalls of their current plan?

1. Have Case Studies Ready

Case studies are specific examples from prior campaigns carried out by your agency or by other big brands that have posted their results.  A case study dives into the details of what the objectives were, what was done, and what the results were.  This type of data answers questions, explains practices, and gives substance to your recommendations.

Case studies show proof of the approach you as a marketing professional are recommending.

Real case study example of a Facebook Page Photo Contest Campaign.

2. Backup the Cases with Data

keep-calm-and-show-the-dataSocial ROI proof is in the data!  The metrics from real campaigns can be a huge asset in helping a client buy into your campaign recommendation and plan.  Take time ahead of your client meeting to identify the key metrics that will be relevant to share based on the goals and objectives of the campaign, and then show them.  This is part of the education process.  Data speaks volumes.

Agencies can also use industry data as a way to demostrate the value of proposed campaigns.  For example, the Social Media Examiner‘s annual Social Media Marketing Industry report is full of valuable insights and data that can be used to help educate clients on current trends.  This third-party data can be critical in showing that a client that this is not simply your opinion but backed up by industry experts!

3. Have examples of Social Media Fail #socialmediafail

Another way to help clients understand what can work and what should not be done is to show them examples of problematic campaigns.  For example, sharing information about Facebook promotion policy and giving some examples of things that break this policy can clarify things.  In particular, if you outline the potential risks of breaking Facebook policy (that a page can be taken down by Facebook!), it can help sink in that there is something at stake here and these “social media guys” know what they are doing!

See examples:

Contests that break the rules

How not to run your Facebook page (Pam Moore Blog)

4. Be Ready to Talk About Your Solutions

Social Media agencies and marketing agencies can perform best when they are operating within their comfort zone.  Yes, you need to always be learning, growing, and expanding your knowledge, but there is also value in having a set of tools in your toolbox, such as Facebook Apps, that you are comfortable with and can rely on.  A tight deadline with a new software tool is not recommended!

Get acquainted with some social media software tools that can meet a wide range of needs your clients have.  Dive deep into them so you know the capabilities.  Then, outline these options when meeting with your clients.  For example, “Here’s the type of Facebook Contests we could run for you and some details on how the we can setup the contest.”  Then outline Photo Contest, Instagram Contests, and Video Contests.  The key is to research your potential client ahead of time and narrow down the options to a few that you think are best suited for their brand.

This helps prevent “scope creep” where the clients says, “yes, but what if we also…”  Avoid this by knowing the options your Facebook and Social Media App software offers.  This helps you help the client.  Keep the campaigns simple and straightforward.  Help them run a special offer deal download, not a special offer plus this, plus that, and a extra dash of this as well!

Simple campaigns done with great calls to action and promotion serve your clients the best!

Seal the Deal

In summary, the path to success for your agency is to be a constant learner, and then refine your strategies to a complete toolkit that is both flexible and yet focused.  One that works well, both from a efficiency standpoint, (because that impacts revenue), and from a effectiveness standpoint (because that impacts ongoing revenue and repeat business!).  From your learning’s, be confident in providing the case examples of what you recommend, and be detailed!  Do not leave the campaign open-ended, button down the loose ends with a systematic, clear approach.  Your confidence, your data, and your details can seal the deal!

Being a “yes, we can do that”, when you don’t know if you can do that well or efficiently is dangerous.  Find your trusted software partners and vendors and use their range of tools effectively to help you.

So go for it, dig in and do the work ahead of time so that in new client meetings you’re prepared and ready to present your case!

 

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About Mike Gingerich

Author: Mike Gingerich, President of Digital Hill & TabSite Marketer and Consultant. Part geek, part marketer, part strategist, total distance running junkie. Mike is an author and speaker, having presented at Social Media Week Lima, Social Media Camp (Canada) and more. He writes a tech column, podcasts, and shares about social media and business strategies at MikeGingerich.com. Mike is a marketing, social media, and business startup enthusiast with 10+ years experience building apps, consulting, and training businesses with winning integrated strategies. Mike loves deploying tactics to increase awareness, sales, and maximize ROI in both B2B and B2C markets via digital media.