Social Media: Working in the Trenches Isn’t Always Sexy

When I started my business in 2010, my plan was to help companies set up on their social media sites, establish a social media strategy and provide one-on-one training. I was somewhat surprised to find that my first customer did not have any interest in learning social media. In fact, they asked if they could hire me to do it for them. As a hungry entrepreneur, the only answer that I could summon was, ‘sure!’

I had no clue how I was going to do it. But, how hard could it be, right?

Fast forward to 2016. I managed to figure it out through the school of hard knocks, but it certainly didn’t come easy. Social media management is more than just updating social media sites. There are so many factors to consider in order for a business to be successful.

Unfortunately, the hundreds of tweet-for-$99-a-month managers give contracted social media managers a bad rap. A business that prefers the ‘outsource it and forget approach’ will not achieve results. The companies who choose this approach probably do not know what it is they are trying to achieve, which is another challenge with social media marketing. In order to be effective, it’s not something that can simply be checked off the list.

No matter how you feel about outsourced social media management, a social media manager is needed. We’ve provided strategies and consulting for dozens of companies. About three-quarters of these folks did not maintain their presence consistently despite the specific guidance and immediate implantation we provided. Indeed, it’s the execution that’s the challenge. As a result, some of these companies ultimately hired us to manage their efforts. Other companies tried to update their sites, but again, social media management is more than just posting content. I give them credit for the effort, though. There are still many more who let their presence go dormant — for weeks, months, and even years.

We partner with our clients. Communication, collaboration and reliability are our company core values. In order for social media to help our clients meet their goals, we must work together to create and execute a plan that will drive results. We proactively communicate the status of the deliverables to meet these goals. Likewise, we expect the same from our clients. They must remain committed to the plan.

We’ve recently decided to make changes requiring that our clients talk with us, via phone, a minimum of once a month, in addition to our regular email communication. For our local or regional clients, we have instituted comprehensive quarterly review meetings to assess our progress and plan for the next quarter. We’ve also developed monthly on-site packages to help our clients get the most from our capabilities. Communication is so important, yet so undervalued in the world of connectedness. We can communicate at any time, from any place, so it’s easy to think that we’re in touch.

Nothing starts out as it seems, but we can choose grow with it. I think that’s probably the best way to go in this field.

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