My Dear Social Media Client,
If you are one of those sad souls who have just finished a social media pitch and got on an agency without finding out just what kind of a ditch you have fallen into, then my heart reaches out to you. I mean, one kind of ditch is PR, and the other advertising and a different, intelligent kind of a ditch called social media. You might look like a ditch-fallen, harrowed, bossed-around and the target-driven marketing manager of a prim and ‘propah’ corporate, underestimating the skills of those who come to work in jeans and do some cool stuff over Facebook and Twitter to make your brand work for people (Yes, there are some jobs where having fun is a part of it).
If, as a reader of this article, you have had a rendezvous with your personality, here are a few things to help you be a lesser painful social media client.
- Share your property: No, I am not referring to your South Bombay/ Banjara Hills/South-Ex flat, but learn to let go. Your agency has kept you as an admin on your Facebook page so you can understand what goes into ‘doing’ social media everyday. Don’t delete posts because you don’t like them, or ‘like’ posts on your own page (because you are the admin and it looks stupid for a brand to be narcissistic. Sigh!)
- The ‘dynamics’: I know a Facebook promotion is at the click of your ThinkPad (which you don’t even know how to operate fully), but it cannot be done NOW unless your team is a coffee-vending machine. Your ‘super critical’ Facebook promotion also requires planning, perhaps a call or a meeting with the team to explain what the promotion is, before you go berserk issuing directives.
- If your social media objective is getting 2 lakh followers on Twitter till your next appraisal, quit. No, really! There is no hope for you next year as well if you don’t believe in establishing an interactive, but, massive community that will be handed over to someone as a garage-sale item.
- Why are you ‘doing’ social media? If social media was all about starting a page and posting pictures, KRK and Poonam Pandey would have been respected social media icons. B-schools would not have bothered exploring courses on it, nor would people think of a business model through Social Media workshops. Make sure your objectives are clear and smart. And yes, they can’t be ‘To have 25 million women swoon over my newly released gadget’.
- When your page/handle/blog gets negative commentary, don’t propose deleting it (The page, as well as the negative commentary): As enticing as it may sound to you, don’t suggest it. This may be a permanent solution to any such negative occurrence in future, but it will stop all possible interaction with your fans. (Hide your face if you’re having a Eureka moment right now.)
- Real joy is in the interactions, not in numbers: However thrilling it feels to have a whopping 144k fans on your page, 2 people talking about it is a bad number. There is no study proving it, it is so obvious.
- You can’t make a viral video, but you can make a video go viral: Raising requests, such as promoting a campaign through a viral video make you look a little less educated than the usual (gasp!). A video goes viral if it is interesting, funny, witty, shocking etc. Focus on the latter part of the previous sentence.
- Crisis is for you, it is for them too!: When someone says bitter somethings about your brand on Twitter, and it goes viral (def of viral explained previously); it is a crisis for your social media team too! It is NOT their fault. Don’t blame them for saying ‘hi’ to a customer, just because he came back with a ‘you guys are cheats and frauds’ story.
- Tell them the truth: Your boss (or you) may be a social media laggard, and he (or you) know nothing of how this medium works. Tell them this (the latter, of course). It will help you realise the value that your social team brings to your wobbly media table (read: plan).
- Don’t act all ‘Khap Panchayat’ or ‘Manmohan Singh’ like: There is no point being conservative or silent about your agency’s ideas, just because you can’t perceive how this medium works. These are ideas you should understand and debate over, not provide irritating, rash-producing, roundworm-like answers saying- “We don’t like it”.
And you, social media agencies, don’t think you can take these clients for a ride. This bugger has contacts and will get you your next big business. So, do your job well and keep the faith alive!