Social Media: Are You Following Directions?


In grade school, our teachers drilled into us the importance of following directions. We all did one of two things; listened dutifully or went in the complete opposite direction. All too often, social media account managers are transported back to the grade school days, except the roles are reversed. When a client isn’t seeing the results he wants, social media managers are forced to ask the question: did you follow the directions?

Social media is a two way street, and social media managers cannot make magic happen on their own. In order to make social media efforts as effective as possible, they often need the assistance of the client. While outsourcing social media may be an effort to avoid any connection with your own profiles, but that just isn’t possible. There will be times that a social media manager will need your two cents or your assistance.

When a company takes on a social media client, they do so with the hopes of assisting that client with expanding their social media efforts. Account managers make every possible effort to ensure that they do all of the heavy lifting, and take as much off the shoulders of the client as possible. Social media managers understand that a client’s day to day operations may prohibit actively posting relevant and consistent content. This is not to say that we can do it all by ourselves, there are times that we will need questions answered, advice provided, or clarification that is necessary for content production.

All too often, clients expect the social media manager to simply pull content out of thin air and we are left wondering how to do that. We often give valuable advice that can either make or break your social media efforts, and this is where the direction following aspect of social media comes in. There are certain things that a social media manager expects from their client, and when we give a direction, we need the client to follow that direction.

There is another difficult aspect when it comes to following directions when it comes to accurately and properly managing social media, and that is when the client simply brushes off direction. If a social media manager gives directions or suggestions regarding what we need, the best bet is to acquiesce to our requests. If we’ve asked for access to your existed Twitter account to make noted changes, and the client makes the changes half-heartedly himself, we are left holding the bag and having to do double work.

There are reasons that you’ve decided to outsource your social media control, and in doing so, you must defer to your manager. We are on hand to answer any questions that a client may have, but when a directive is provided, it is because we believe it to be a valuable suggestion. When a client refuses or simply ignores the instruction, our management services are rendered moot. In order for a client to get an accurate sense of ROI, we must be the experts.

It is understood, widely, by social media managers that deference is difficult, as you’re handing over the reins to your business marketing online. This is not a simple decision to make. Nine times out of ten, a client has put in the work to build their business from the ground up and worked hard to make it successful. This is not a new concern, however, and a good social media manager will take every step to ensure the highest level of comfort for the client. In return, we expect the client to accept our suggestions and roll with the punches.

Clients are in an awkward position, as they expect us, as social media managers, to know their business as well as they do. Unfortunately, we don’t have the years of blood, sweat, and tears that the client does, so for us, it is a learning process. What is also somewhat unfortunate is that as social media managers, we expect our clients to accept our process without questioning too much and simply hand over the keys so we can drive.

In a perfect world, social media managers and clients could understand each other without too much drama and questioning, but it is not a perfect world. The only possible suggestion is that we seek to obtain a happy medium, and meet in the middle. In seeking a social media manager, clients must recognize that deference is the top priority. Social media managers, we must realize that the client has handed us their social media marketing efforts and recognize the significance of such a gesture. Only when we accept these truths, can we truly have a working relationship.