The other day I sat with a client to discuss tying a social media marketing program to the recent launch of the organization’s new Web site. A nonprofit with legitimate sentiment concerns, it seemed that a comprehensive inbound marketing program was the logical next step. And so having previously discussed the power in building organic traffic, I proposed an ongoing social solution that I felt suited their needs. After about an hour of discussion, the client was equally confident that the plan was indeed, a good one. As we rose from the table and I was being escorted to the door, the client causally mentioned another Web site they were planning.
“What site?” I asked – probably with a noticeable degree of concern in my tone.
The client proceeded to explain that there’s another site to be built that will support the main site.
At first I thought, “Sweet! More work! More money! More chance to shine!”
My excitement was short-lived however, because as the client told it, the site’s donor potential would be shared between my client and a small, online pay-per advertising company partnering with them.
I took quick stock of my tone and asked, “Yah got another minute to chat?”
At that, we turned around and returned to the table.
As we sat back down, I asked my client to explain the nature of this new partnership. It turns out that the company teaming with my client is a pay-per advertiser and would have an integral role in the promotion and hence, the financial success of the site.
It was then that I explained that I was no longer comfortable proceeding with the proposed solution discussed eariler. I went on in good detail to explain why if there is another party beholden to an additional site’s success, my consultancy would have to pass, as it would then become clear that there were now more chefs, by one, in the proverbial kitchen.
Your business is my business if you’re asking it to be my business.
The goals are many, but they are simply stated: become influential, an authority, a trusted servant of a given kind of information. Supply it reliably, but moreover, responsibly and if you’re indispensable, you’ll reap the whirlwind.
Whenever I am presenting, paramount to my cause, is conveying my sincere concern for the veracity of my client’s brand identity. If I cannot ensure that my contribution will result in a favorable outcome – one that we both predicted and hoped for – I will pass on the business. I don’t want to, but I sure will if I sense that something or someone outside of my control could undermine our efforts and poison the watering hole.
After all, social media marketing is an exercise in socializing with people. The feedback about your brand and even you is determined democratically by your audience, your buyers and your segments. That means there’s plenty of rogue elements built-in to any campaign automatically – enough to keep busy even the finest social media evangelicals.
Remember: we do not control the response to our output, but we do control our output.
Reign in your team.
Anyone who has done even cursory SEO and social media marketing research knows that the ROI on pay-per campaigns cannot hang with organic campaigns. Check out this killer article by HubSpot on this very subject. Pay-per deserves and has earned a spot in any smart and comprehensive plan. But the goals of a social media campaigning center on making brand loyalists of our traffic. Pay-per has never been blamed for achieving such a magical outcome. In other words, the goals are different.
It’s really even simpler than that. What does my client’s partner want to achieve? What does my client want to achieve? And lastly, what do I want to achieve? Are our goals aligned? Ideally, they’re identical, fleshed out in advance and strategically pointing us at the prize. As consultants, you and I cannot afford to make promises we are later not armed to keep. When my client tells me I’ve got six months to prove it, can I achieve at the level I am asserting I will if someone else is doing what I am doing, only with an entirely different agenda, using entirely different methods?
This particular story has a happy ending. My client agreed to put this additional site on hold and likewise promised to discuss it with me separately at a later time.
A smart social media program encompasses a wealth of methods for maintaining standards. Among these techniques should be a rules of engage policy. But we all have to be fully committed not only to the policy, but to the words that comprise the policy. Social media marketing is an intellectual exercise of titanic proportions. It calls on us to be our most patient, when practicing fortitude is agonizing. It calls on us to be our most persistent, when extending our commitment looks more like vanity than perseverance. And it absolutely demands discipline in our execution. The plan is bigger than the paycheck. And it’s bigger than you and me too. We all need to exhibit unambiguous obedience to the plan or the plan will fail.
Do you have control over what you’re broadcasting? Are there elements in play that weaken, or worse, unravel your messaging?