The Hello Bar is a simple notification bar that engages users and communicates a call to action.

George Clooney

Brad Pitt at the Burn After Reading premiere

Image via Wikipedia

Unfortunately there was too long of a list of dumb client questions to pick from when it comes to  social media marketing.

The good news I figured out pretty quickly I was the common denominator between these unrelated clients. By my second big engagement, it became clear I wasn’t explaining the rules of the game.

Finally coming to the realization not everyone is an early adopter – well I didn’t know what they didn’t know.  I made bad assumptions that we were on the same page and then found myself if countless meetings wasting hours on, as my brother would say,“covering it up kitty.”

Latching onto the concept of managing client expectations, early this year I guest posted at Convince And Convert and actually created a pretty tight “Client Pre-Nup” you can download for free here. It’s a great social media audit you use for your potential clients.

The reality is, you don’t know what you’re doing and neither does your client.

Don’t get me wrong. I know most of you have good intentions and big plans. Been there done that.  But if you don’t know for a fact your client will execute on their end and uphold their end of the bargain, then you my friend are going to go down in shame as another casualty of the blame game.

It’s a no win situation.

Unless you can pull out a document to prove you “warned” them you’ll find yourself answering questions like this…

#1 “I Want To Go Viral. How Much Will That Cost?”

The sound of crickets fills your head.

You feel like a deer staring at the light of train getting to wreck into your agency.

Taking a deep breath, no blinking, shoulders back, you say…

“Going viral is NOT an outcome, it’s a happening.” Lori R Taylor

Are you guys with me?

You say this and you’ll see your customer’s head will nod.  You’ll feel the knot in their stomach relax as you start of on the right foot, building a teeny bit of trust.

But most importantly this is where you make sure they understand clearly if they don’t step up and allocate resources internally then you might as well take be taking a hill in Iraq with bb and water guns. And allocate resources doesn’t mean Betty Lou in accounting sending you a check, as your client tunes into YouTube waiting to be the next Double Rainbow phenomenon.

As an example, I have a futures trading friend, Hubert, who makes a boatload as a trader. Even as an internet marketer with a real deal membership site he kills it.

And do you know how he starts out EVERY sales presentation?

With the TRUTH.

“Look there are NO guarantees in trading. You will probably sign up for this and lose your ass. So if you can’t afford to lose money, don’t sign up.”

For Real.

This is how he starts every single webinar with a close rate is 30%+ and refund rate close to zilch. And so should you.

Moral of the story:

Be Hubert. Quote Lori. Win the limbo with the lowest run set on the bar possible to manage client’s expectations when it comes to social media marketing.

#2 “I Only Want Buyers As Fans On My Facebook Page, Can You Do That?”

Yeah and I want to have a three way with George Clooney and Brad Pitt on my birthday.

Too many agencies are selling social media services as a lead generation channel. The fact many brands use Facebook advertising to get more fans would be your first clue it’s not as easy as it sounds to get the attention of the users on Facebook.

However, once you do, your fan page should be valued  as a powerful touch point with your existing customers. Your goal should be to interact with your customer base in a two way conversation to stay top of mind. It’s a great workhorse to help you build the lifetime value of a customer.

Social media marketing strategies are optimized best when tied into a customer loyalty strategy to make good customers great.  

Giving your raving fans something to talk about, be excited about or even be curious about, can help you  “spread the word” about your product or service. The right promotion can help you really extend your brand reach.

It’s not to say you can’t tap into Facebook insights or other tools to track traffic to your online site.  That’s exactly what you should be doing.  This type of data will allow you to support as your social media presence grows, so do your sales or activity around your brand.

The most important thing you can do is set up at CRM scoring system for your overall customer base. This means you can look at your customers and be able to say who is a great customer and who is a terrible customer.  It allows you to append data points to build a model for social media marketing.

A Facebook page allows you to interact with your fans to get more insights into who they are and which ones matter the most.

Once you are able to start connecting the dots between social media and your sales channel, you’ll begin to be able to accurately determine the ROI of your efforts.  Knowing where your best customers come in contact with you outside of the sales channel, puts you in a much stronger position to amp up your direct response efforts.

But if you’re selling social media as the “must have” link to increase sales you’re selling yourself, the client and the medium short.

Moral of the story

Remind your clients it’s not an eye for an eye, ok?  A thousand new fans does not equal a thousand new sales.

#3 “I Only Have 200 Links For My Website”

True story.

I have a pain in the butt health insurance client. Yeah, I know yawn. (Which is part of the problem, but that’s another post.) Knowing what we were up against, we created a very good consistent conversational content strategy for SEO to drive traffic.

How good?

In February 2011 they had a Page Rank 0.  I started SEO in April and in June 2011 we were at a Page Rank 5.

Instead of jumping up and down, they were counting links!!

Think about it.

You, me and twenty other people in a room. We all reveal the rankings of our site with number of links. Others with PR5 sites have thousands of links, I have 200.  Which one impresses you?


But it’s always harder to explain this to them after they write the check than before they do.  You have to tell them you focus on writing awesome content to get the best links, not the most.

You catch my drift? 

It’s your job to educate your customer upfront.

Make sure your client knows it’s about staying on top of the trends, capitalizing on them where you can and maintaining flexibility and fluidity in your overall approach. Set tangible goals by being clear on benchmarks of where they are now, the obstacles to getting where you want to go and what a homerun hit would look like should it happen.

Make sure they understand what an A, B, C or even F looks like – don’t make promises you can’t control. 

Moral Of The Story:

And be clear nothing is set in stone, your plan in a guide complete with contingency plans should the worst OR the best happen.

What’s My Point?

The bottom line of all of this is for big brands the social media marketing channel is new.

Your clients are nervous.

They like shouting, not having conversations.

They are fearful of losing control of their campaigns. And they just want to win, but don’t really know what a win looks like.

If you want to not be face planted on the carpet they call you on every single week because your client is sitting in the dark, waiting for Brad Pitt and George to show up.

What Do You Think?

Who else has learned something like this the hard way?

What are some dumb things your clients have said?

Please share so we can all do a better job of getting on the same page in the beginning as we work diligently to climb onto the new york times best seller list of awesome successful social media campaigns.