Social Media Management Vs Client’s Opinions.
Social Media management is a combination of technical knowledge and creative solutions. I have always taken it like that. Any digital media/marketing professional would start with and in-depth analysis of the brand and move to creative solutions which include, content production, scheduling, analysis, goals, and branding.
Best case scenario, you will find clients that are totally on your side. They trust your knowledge and leave everything to you as long as it is coordinated with the overall marketing and branding strategy. This means that as a social media manager you will deal with 2 or 3 people in order to coordinate the whole operation.
Worst case scenario, you will find a very small and opinionated team of professionals lead by a someone who ask for anyone’s opinion on any brand-related work. This is the worst nightmare for any social media and digital marketing expert.
I have lived through this nightmare, working for a small startup in London, I ended up as the social media manager in a team of around 5 people. Although it all looked very organized (Everyone was in charge of specific part of the enterprise) it was, in fact, a mess of opinions and ideas. I get it, fresh ideas and more minds are often great when it comes to developing strategies and developing a company, but when it comes to social media, it is a bit different.
The problem in this situation is simple; we all believe ourselves experts in digital media, in particular, social media. Almost everyone has a Facebook, Instagram and Twitter account, we understand how to post, and in some cases, we are more popular as individuals than the brand we are working for. This gives the regular person the idea that social media is easy, thus, they end up commenting on anything related to it.
The second part of the problem is that social media is public. The sales team deals with numbers, which 90% of the time will only be shared among a specific number of team members in a company, the legal department deals with very important and niche documents which are rarely shared and much less understood. Social media, on the other hand, is public, furthermore, in most of the cases, especially on small teams, workers will follow the brand. This means that the social media executive/expert will need to deal with a very public job. You will hear opinions about your social media management all the time.
So, how do you face those issues? How do you regain authority without appearing stubborn and closed to ideas?
Well, the first thing is to be nice and be patient enough to explain your decisions. Technical aspects such as keywords, scheduling time, hashtags and tags are topics that can be easily acquired as your expertise. It is also easier to give a general explanation of how your technical knowledge is better than the regular opinion of nonprofessional social media users. Talk with your boss, talk with your colleagues and make it clear that all of your decisions are based on your previous analysis of the digital presence of the brand, in-depth knowledge of social media channels, get some numbers, big words and examples of your previous work; this is usually enough to let them know, in a professional manner, that they can’t compare to you in terms of expertise. But it is not over yet…
The complicated part will be the creative side of it. I am talking about the text on posts and visual content. In my case, I was working with a CEO that previously worked as a writer and very young members of the team; basically social media freaks. This meant that all posts text was criticized and “improved”. The problem comes in the form of very unimportant but time-consuming modifications, modified long tail keywords, and headaches trying to reach an agreement with all your team. The same happens with image and videos; the images are not clear, they look old, they are not brand related… I have heard it all. The problem is that no matter how much you try, text and visual content is creative; it is aesthetic, what is nice for you may be bad for someone else. That is the root of the main problem.
The main issue is that social media has been developed to make it user friendly, that means that most users will feel very confident on the way they use it. Working as an expert on something people already feel experts on is a huge pain in the butt. You will need to deal with opinions and critiques. Moreover, it will be very hard to argue your expertise in instance when creative opinion takes centre stage and overcomes technical expertise.
Only professionals will understand the value of everything they do, when it comes to the regular person, they will always feel they can improve or help.
How do you deal with that kind of issues?