While some people/businesses do their own setup and manage their FB/ Twitter accounts, I’m wondering what if anything is customary when they meet up with a social marketer, when they basically weigh the two options of between themselves, assuming they can do so, and taking someone on. Social Marketing seems much faster growing right now that web design, but I guess the two could help compliment one another.
It seems like many people would only want the setup particularly for FB, and someone to help get them acclimated until they are comfortable which probably wouldn’t be long. Days or a week or so. Though I’ve heard of socialers getting monthly retainers and 6 month committments. How does this work? What might fee structures be like & are they front-end loaded? It seems if not, the SM would extend an awful lot of trust, however justified.
There is also the factor, say if a company hires out the FB/Twitter for a number of months, in hopes of building a network, where they may not have someone internally to handle this. One issue I see is Tweeting and making posts – the social marketer might also have to know the business and/or contact formalities. There could be Tweets about particular product issues, etc, and how these are handled could verge into customer service, or the sales/marketing dept, or engineering particulars. What if the client/provider is arranged with a CPA - and tweets are tax-related? How is this all regularized into a uniform protocol for or by the social marketing firm?
You’ve brought up a number of topics but I think most can be distilled down to doing the work vs setting the strategy.
As a “social media strategist” my role is completely different being an employee at a brand or a consultant for one. When companies call me today to help with their social I may spend a day doing a training on “best practices” topics without particular focus on their brand or I may spend 12 months working with them as their program grows; it’s a function of budget and internal resources.
However for me that role never touches actual posts. Sure I’ll craft message ideas, work through posts to suggest better options, and push back on length / broadcast / superlative use but I’m not the product expert, why would I be the one talking as one?
There are however many times when brands do outsource the actual posting and while I’m less and less a fan of this it’s about immersion. To move from strategy to doing the consultant / team has to eat, breath & sleep the brand so to speak. This means having trainings, having a clear knowledge of the culture, getting each product, etc to the point where there is a huge amount of trust. It is not something you can start doing for a company overnight.
Participating in a company’s social programs is talking to the customer without a filter. There’s no review process, no comp stage, no changes. It should not be an side-service, something the provider is new at, or does from time to time. You need to know how it works, know the client very well to do anything more than a general overview.
As for compliance, that complicates it all but just reinforces my first point: the brand needs to lead the charge.
Follow up on costs since I didn’t address that directly…
Fees vary widely from a a near minimum wadge job [and a horrible decision for any brand IMO] up to $500+ / hour.
Most good consultants who engage over long periods, who work with mid-sized to large brands and who are well connected in the space are in the $100 - $250 range although as we’ve gone from just a handful of providers to many experienced individuals that’s slid down.
There’s a natural frontloading to this as the consultant has to ramp up their knowledge of the brand [i.e those trainings, store-visits, product testing, etc] as well as the company’s understanding of the space, goal setting, trainings, etc. Over time that can even out or continue on depending on relationship & type of involvement.
What a lot of this leads me to believe is that the independent social marketer might serve best by specializing by type of business or organization. Even though beyond this, there is particular culture and more.
Those hourly rates are up there. Though on the other hand, I was thinking for basic setup (little customization) and some familiarization for those who only want FB/Twitter, to be perhaps in the $250 to $600 to $700 range. Maybe tip this a little.
Specialization is a great idea in pretty much all of marketing. I just came back from the Scuba Diving tradeshow and there were a few businesses in areas that would be near impossible across the board [like simple websites] but which were doing great because they knew, and catered to, the particulars of the industry.
Of course get too small and you have to work competitors which is not good.
As for your rates, I suppose it depends on what you want and how you frame it up. $500 might be enough for you to do a full day training using a stock presentation (8 hours @ ~$60) which would help someone get started but it’s a far cry from constant support. People think social is free but in truth the investment is time… and the risk is your entire brand, you are after all talking to the world. Remind people of that and skip those that want bottom of the barrel prices, it will not work here.
I’m suggesting that if you’re going to do a brief engagement you focus on education rather than action. You could certainly make part of your day the process of walking through the account options but if you’re just charging them to set a username, description and background [or cover on facebook] that’s not social marketing.
What companies need to understand is more broad:
Why should they be on a network?
What does it mean to be on a network? Control?
What is ok to post? What isn’t?
How do they determine results / what do they measure?
What do they do when things go wrong [and they will]?
If you can help with that you’re providing true value that they can then execute on. It’s a lot more meaningful than $500 worth of tactical work for them to be left scratching their head…