In the meeting you should discuss the following:
1) Why Social Media is Important – whenever possible, connect it to the location. For example, “80% of customers in [your area] use social media to ask their friends for advice about restaurants.” Depending on the business owner, they may or may not know this stuff already. Gloss over it quickly or skip it altogether when appropriate. Spend more time if needed. Your goal is to get the owner to agree that online presence and social media is important.
2) Social Media Presence – now that the owner agrees with you that social media is important, talk about the specific business’ social media presence and connect it to social media trends in your locale. For example, “60% of consumers in our city Google a business before going to it, and the first result they see is this Yelp profile of your business. The second review is this two-star, bad review and, as is natural, customers gravitate to reading and remembering reviews.”
Tip: If you don’t have local data and can’t find it online, run a survey yourself to gather the data. You can use free or cheap tools like Google Forms and Surveymonkey.com, and distribute it via social networks. Some social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, allow targeting a survey by area for a relatively small price.
3) Your Services – talk about what you can do for the business. You and your potential client need to be realistic about what social media can do for them. Remember your services are limited to social media content creation, monitoring and commenting. Over time your role may evolve further into additional paid services such as buying ads or creating agreements with deal sites, but at this juncture your service is focused on social media. Build that trust first and then, if you choose to, you can expand. The beauty of this approach is that it allows both you and the client to start slow, without spending too much money upfront, and without committing to any big expenditures in the future. It makes the decision to hire you much easier.
4) Your Duties – be very clear about what you are offering. How many networks you will manage for them? Will you cover their website too? How much content will you post? How much help will they need to give you in funneling followers to social media? We recommend not confusing them with too many options but instead offering three tracks:
Track 1: Monitor the three main social networks relevant to your business; make at least 10 posts per week, per network; and track and respond to negative comments. If it’s a restaurant, suggest Yelp, FourSquare and Facebook. If it’s a dentist, offer Yelp, ZocDoc and Healthgrades. Or, let the business choose the three networks. It’s case specific, but what’s important is that the framework stays the same.
Track 2: Monitor seven social networks; make at least 20 posts per week, per network; and track and respond to negative reviews and comments.
Track 3: Build your own package. Let the owner ask for the networks they’re interested in and the amount of content they want posted. For some businesses, posting a lot of content might not make sense, or having a Facebook profile will be useless (e.g. dentists). For others, getting the word out about a special offer just in time, can make a huge difference.
5) Metrics for Success – these metrics need to show that you are achieving the goals of the social media manager: getting more customers to notice the business online, getting existing customers to see it in a positive light, and preventing online reputation negativity from spiraling into disaster.
Potential metrics include:
- Aggregate number of followers on social media
- Aggregate number of engagements on social media
- Number of negative posts prevented
- Ratings: note the Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook and other ratings of the business every week and track them over time.
Set a time-frame to measure these metrics (once a month, once a quarter) and create a spreadsheet to track them. Make it clear that building an audience takes some time (at least 3-4 months), so in the beginning the metrics might be unimpressive.
Most importantly: Don’t over-promise. Be realistic about your abilities and the business’s appeal.
6) Owner Participation – be very clear with the owner on what they need to do. For example, they need to help you understand the typical customer profiles, tell you more about the business offerings, cooperate with an offline feedback program, etc. There are also business-specific responsibilities, such as a restaurant owner who needs to supply you with the weekly/daily specials to post. Be clear in your pitch that while you’ll save the owner a lot of time and money in the long run, they still need to work with you on a weekly or monthly basis (or designate someone in their organization to do so). We will address this topic further in our post about on-boarding a client.
7) Pricing – we will discuss this in the next post so come back soon to check it out.
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Photo by: Alejandro Escamilla