Hiring the right strategist is very important, but a successful social media campaign requires you (the client) to participate in an active way. As with every relationship in life, it is a two-way street. And a dysfunctional relationship will result in frustration (on both ends), slow growth, and ultimately a waste of money and time.
To get the most from your specialist, I suggest following these guidelines.
1. Be clear about what your goals are.
What are your goals for your business? Do you want to create an engaging community, develop marketing promotions or direct traffic to your website? Regardless of what your goals are, they must be discussed in the very beginning with your specialist. Knowing what you want makes it easier for the specialist to tailor the social strategy for you and create actionable goals along the way. A skilled specialist will ask you about your goals, but the more specific you are, the better it will be for the specialist to create an unique plan for you and execute it correctly.
2. Set expectations.
Do you have expectations from your specialist? Do you want weekly/monthly/yearly reports? Want to touch bases weekly? Communicate often? If you are a person who likes being involved or doesn’t really need to be, make sure you let your specialist know up front. This will not only ensure you find the right specialist for you, but will cut back on irritation in the future. Not all specialists are created the same, so the more you know what you want, the easier it will be to get it.
3. Pay on time.
Getting paid on time is the frustration I hear most from my fellow social specialists and it’s a shame. No one should need to continually ask to be paid or have to work without being paid. It puts specialists in an awkward place when payments are late because unlike other professionals, we can’t just not show up. Be respectful, be fair and put yourself in their position – if work is being done, it should be paid. Period.
4. Keep your scheduled meetings.
Specialists take the time to set up meetings for a reason – to stay in contact with you and keep up to date with your business. If you have to cancel a meeting, let them know as soon as possible so they can schedule other things. And reschedule as soon as your schedule will allow. Meetings are very important to building a relationship and exchanging relevant information.
5. Provide them with business-related content every week.
When you hired a specialist, it was to market your business by sharing content related to your business. Not providing content is a huge hindrance in the building of your brand online. A specialist can pool together content your audience will be interested in, but without content relating directly to your business, your fans will eventually become bored. If they want generic content, there are numerous places to locate it online. You are shooting yourself in the foot by not providing content. I ask my clients to give 5-7 pieces of content every week, and the lack of engagement is apparent when there is no content. Social media is about building momentum and a lack of content pulls any growth back and starts the process all over again.
6. Develop a marketing mind.
While you did hire someone to market for you, the more you are able to think from their point of view, the better. For example, if you attend an event relating to your business, take a picture with someone and give it to your specialist to share. If you give out brand apparel/accessories/etc. take a picture or even better, a video. If you come across an article that relates to your business, send it to your specialist. By thinking from a marketing POV, you are creating valuable pieces of content that your specialist can utilize for the benefit of the business. Basically, you are learning how to add a power punch to your social media, and that’s priceless.
7. Make communication simple.
Keep it simple by having your specialist communicate regularly with one person. If you have a team of employees to discuss strategies and/or promotions, that’s great. But contradicting ideas and/or having to communicate with more than one person is not what a specialist is paid for. And it only complicates the situation. If you own your company, chances are that you are too busy to talk regularly with a specialist or be available to answer a fast question if the need arises. Keep it simple and assign one person to work with the specialist and be readily available to them.
8. Respect their time.
A specialist is a person just like you, and their time is valuable. If you have to cancel an appointment, be late with payment, or behind on content, let them know asap. I tell my clients, there is nothing that communication cannot solve. Keep us in the loop and the relationship will remain positive.
9. Be appreciative.
Being a social media specialist is not just posting things on Facebook, replying to tweets or getting to play around on Pinterest. There is a lot of time and work that goes into developing and executing every social media strategy. Have respect for your specialist, treat them as you want to be treated, and do not allow yourself to think the job is easy. Social media is an intense, challenging and fast-paced industry that changes so quickly specialists spend a huge majority of their free time staying up to date.
10. Be polite in the goodbye.
If, for whatever reason, you decide that you no longer need your specialist, give them a 30-day notice. This will allow your specialist to make accommodations and have time to prepare all your information (usernames/passwords/etc) for you while they are still under contract. Deciding the day you are supposed to pay and/or last minute is rude and disrespectful to the person you hired. Regardless of why the relationship isn’t continuing, do your part to have integrity and give them a standard 30-day notice.