A few weeks ago, my Managing Director sent me an eConsultancy blog asking the question ‘does Social Media necessitate a 24-7 Social Media agency’?
Get used to this… my prediction is that there’s going to be an awful lot of talk about this over the next few weeks and months. Rightly so, it’s an important point to make; the sort of point that ironically keeps Social Media Managers awake at night.
Some agencies do offer this already. At 5pm UK time, the social campaign is chucked across ‘the pond’ to someone else to manage… Makes sense… or does it?
Voice of the company
Our MD was initially hesitant to launch a social arm, as he quite rightly asked the question, ‘how can we be the social ‘voice’ of a company we don’t know’?
It’s often overlooked, but that is the absolute essence of social media management. As soon as a client hands me over their login details, I am the voice of their company. I’m put on a stage in front of an audience I know nothing about, being heckled with questions, complaints, accolade and opinion (metaphorically obviously, this isn’t a service we currently offer!).
It’s for this exact reason that I won’t begin a campaign without first meeting the client and getting a real idea of who they are, where they’ve come from, and how they see the immediate future. That’s just scratching the surface… it could take months to really understand the ethos of your client. Obviously, it’s not realistic for me to spend weeks or months with a client before taking over management of their social, but getting clear objectives and expectations from them is essential to my work. Our social media questionnaire that we send to a client on day one of their contract is growing by the day.
You have to get totally under the client’s skin
I have a notepad dedicated to each of my clients and am constantly making notes on them; profiling them. Each phone call / email / meeting will tell you more about the client and their company. An international IT company for example is going to have a different voice to a one-man-band selling bespoke jewellery. This has to be reflected on social platforms.
My point is this; let’s imagine I’m posting content for a client on Monday. I’m confident that I can represent the client’s approach, character and philosophy because I’ve dedicated a lot of time to discovering this. At 6pm when I go home, I could hand over to a partner in the States and they are now the sole person responsible for representing a brand. They can’t possibly understand the client requirements.
I don’t leave the office at the end of the day, I just put it in my pocket
I can be at home having a glass of wine, knowing full well that that same heckling audience is sat in my pocket, on silent. It’s a real tough one. I’m not paid to manage my clients in the evening, nor am I expected to stay up all night. I’m also not willing to simply hand over a client to a partner in a different time zone…
So, what do you do? There’s the obvious solution of scheduling content, but that’s a ‘one way’ mechanism. What happens if someone engages with this content? Or any content for that matter? Currently, I’ve set up alerts on my phone and iPad. I have to be fairly ruthless and only deal with what I deem to be urgent engagement. But where does this stop? And, what is ‘urgent’ engagement?
Some critics have argued that the solution is to transfer the management back in-house for the evening or weekend… Personally, I believe that if the client has outsourced social in the first place, they’re unlikely to welcome a daily handover… similarly, would they want to work every evening and weekend?
This topic deserves a lot more attention. I don’t think there is an ‘answer’ per se. Perhaps I’m just being overly protective of my campaigns?
Or… perhaps the answer is to post this at 6pm each day…?
I’m being facetious…