Social Website Management

Hello all,

I am fairly new to this part of the forum, can’t say the same about SitePoint.

We can all agree that most client’s are not as tech-savvy as us, and many of mine would not have a clue to register on an online networking site, nevermind manage them. Even if they did have a clue, they probably don’t have the time.

When taking all this into consideration do companies manage social website for clients, and if so, how do they normally do this?

Has anybody got experience in this?

Hello! I’m new to Sitepoint, but not new to the theme of this forum. :slight_smile:

Most clients are not very tech-savvy, however you have to see this as an opportunity. You are the specialist, so you should help your client out with all the tech issues.

The tricky part is not to waste time talking on the phone or writing emails to help him out, unless you can bill these hours (which you often can’t). So if your client doesn’t know how to use a certain tool, offer him a course and a manual, which you can bill.

You can also offer him help with setting up the profiles on those networking sites and take care of the technical maintenance. Just make sure to get money for the work you put in. This might be difficult because after all most online networking sites are free to use, but your time isn’t.

The same applies to “they probably don’t have the time.” Either the client makes time for updating the profiles on those sites, or he pays you for doing it.

When it comes to social marketing, there is a variety of services you can offer to your clients. However it is impossible to use these marketing tools effectively without your clients involvement. After all your client knows his business best, not you.

If I can offer you an important piece of advice, then this: if your client’s website isn’t already at least good (if not top notch), then don’t do any social marketing.


  1. If your client doesn’t care enough about his online presence to take the time and to add one quality content item to his website every week, then he is not ready for platforms which require daily involvement.
  2. At one moment or another, the prospects from the social websites will visit the company website for more information or to buy the product. Don’t waste money on funneling clients to a bad website that doesn’t convert visitors to customers.
  3. Frustrated visitors will at one moment or another complain about a bad website. Today, they will often do this publicly, online. So unless you follow up these complaints with real improvements, your online reputation is dead.
  4. Your clients customers are not your customers. Ultimately he will have to manage requests for proposals, complaints about bad products or requests for information. You can’t do this for him since you don’t know his business well enough, and not following up on those leads is simply bad business.

Not wanting to scare you off, just giving you a feedback on my experiences. Don’t be afraid to ask any further questions, I’m here to help.

@Fränk Klein

Thanks Frank, you really did give me an insight.

Personally I think I hit on a hot topic here (thinking should be on front page)

Understanding that my time is not free, how can one go about charging for material to substitute for your time. However you think of it, you’ll probably still come out at a loss.

Giving them free support and wasting hours on the phone is ludicrous, unless you shaft them with a premium helpline number, which you’re bound to get angry emails and phones calls (even at their expense).

Initially I was proposing to charge for the social media set-up. So for every set-up of a social media site you charge 15 EU, then I was hoping to train them on-site. But then I realized I was doing a lot of leg work for nothing. The 15 Euro set-up fee, on let’s say 2 sites would not substitute on-board training.

Even if you train the clients to social networking, and give them material you will charge them for (not really knowing what one would charge, let’s say 100 EU), you would then have to monitor them to ensure they are doing a correct job. Let’s face it, poor execution on their part reflects back on you as the web design company.

So taking into consideration all this cost the client would incur one would think whether it’s worth actually bothering.

So we have several topics here:

  • clients involvement in the social media site
  • my monitor of them, to make sure everything goes smoothly
  • the cost of the training material, on-board training and telephone calls
  • whether this is all worth it

Even though it sounds that I am money-hungry, I can assure you the opposite. I am just trying to understand what others do. I don’t really have competition for this in my area, so it would be interesting to know how others go about it.

There is little point in speculating what one would do, it’s much more valuable to know what people in real-working environments do, apart from leaving their clients high and dry.

hi everyone,
Social website management’s people should seriously think something for spammers and such kind of things, because some people get in forum just for advertising purpose.

What you got to keep in mind is that there is the value of a service or product, and the perceived value. Apple for example uses perceived value to make money, since the products the firm sells are cheap to produce, but yet sell at elevated prices.

You on the other hand offer a service with a real value (the time you have to put into it) but your client doesn’t perceive it as such. After all why should he pay you 15 EU to set up a Facebook page. His son is on Facebook, for free!

So instead of writing “creating account on Facebook - 15 EU” on your proposal, write something like this:

Create Online Presence on Facebook

  • Create business profile
  • Customize profile graphics according to existing brand guidelines
  • Customize profile content
  • Set up contact information
  • Create links between profile and website

Explain to your client what you do, and make sure to write up everything you do. My proposed write-up is far from ideal, but you get the drift. If you have to do all that work, you can’t do it for 15 EU, I think every client will get that (hopefully).

I don’t know anything about your business, but I think one of the most important shifts that web agencies nowadays have to make is to stop being “the nerd guys that program stuff to put on the internet” and becoming a real online marketing service company.

This has to transform the relationship to your client from doing isolated small projects (updating website,…) to a long term interaction where you do work for him during the whole year and assist him in developing his business via the web.

Monitoring his activities on the social media may be a good entry point into making this shift, as this would require you to charge him a small fee for the daily monitoring, as well as for writing the weekly/bi-weekly/monthly/whatever report of the monitoring results.

That is a very good remark, definitely food for thought. You have expressed that you are not money-hungry and that you only want the best for your clients. I think that one of the most important things is to learn to say “no” - if a client of yours wants to do social media marketing but you clearly see that it won’t do anything for him, tell him that.

In the long term, this is going to benefit you more than making a quick buck or two.

You already gave a good write up of some of the related topics, I’ll elaborate this further:

  1. What are the goals your client wants to achieve using social media sites?
  2. Who is the target audience of your client?
  3. On what platforms (Facebook, Twitter,…) should your client be present?
  4. What will your client offer on these platforms (content, games,…)?
  5. Who at your client’s firm will respond to comments and inquiries and interact with the users on these platforms?
  6. What are the key performance indicators of your social media presence?
  7. Who will monitor the whole activities on social media, and measure the success of communication activities according to the KPIs?
  8. What training and resources do you have to offer your client to make him ready for social media marketing?
  9. Taking all this into account, would a social media presence be beneficial enough to justify the costs? Or should you choose more traditional, but still effective marketing tools like email instead?

I think these are the essential questions that should be asked before investing in social media, in order to prevent poor execution and as a consequence a bad reputation for your company.

… why should he pay you 15 EU to set up a Facebook page. His son is on Facebook, for free!

My cousin already said this might be a problem. I was trying to explain to my cousin that even though he can create a page, he would not be able to proceed with adding all the information as required because of lack of knowledge, or not having the time. I think your rewording of the sections are more than suitable, it sounds more professional and maybe something your 13 year old son can’t do.

would require you to charge him a small fee for the daily monitoring, as well as for writing the weekly/bi-weekly/monthly/whatever report of the monitoring results.

Makes sense really.

On what platforms (Facebook, Twitter,…) should your client be present?

All companies have to consider Facebook and twitter. Other social media sites like YouTube etc. are best left out for specialized companies. The trouble is many social media sites are dying, and using social bookmarking to directly influence yourself in them can get you banned from the bookmarking site.

All sites will have social bookmarking on them, and it’s for the users to bookmark those sites, not for the customer to bookmark himself.

Training is a must, you cannot create an online presence on twitter and facebook without training them, as they are likely to just leave them as you set them up. I also feel monitor is a strong must, without monitoring them they could end up using them wrongly and discouraging their users. (if that’s even possible).

If you start charging for everything simple things like Twitter and Facebook can cost an awful lot of money, and I think clients would all double-think using them. The idea is to influence companies to use them, not to discourage them.

What do other’s do? Their must be companies who deal with this daily.

I have to disagree with you on this. There is no “must-do” when it comes to social media marketing. It all really depends on the client. Twitter is still not very popular in most parts of Europe (Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg,…). Facebook is big, but not all brands and products do well on this platform.

One of the most important things is to accept the way that social media sites work: you don’t have any power as a brand. Energizing users and turning them into brand ambassadors is very difficult, it takes a lot of time and lots of budget.

Second that.

Absolutely. It’s better not to do anything then doing it wrong or setting it up and letting it “rot”. There’s nothing more damaging for a brand than having a social media presence that’s full of spam or that hasn’t been updated in weeks.

Start small and take things from there. Divide your proposal into different sections that go from the most basic offers to the most advanced. Make sure that every part of your proposal can be executed independently, that it forms a whole.

Like this you can “lure” the client into social media marketing. Start with optimizing the website content for sharing on social websites. Monitor the results and if they are positive, present them to your client. Then you might say “You see this is good, but if we do X, we will improve those numbers”. Then do X, monitor results, then propose him Y, and so on and so on.

I think as long as your client gets results from the money he invests, he’ll continue doing it. But be smart about it. Most clients will phone you and say “I want to be on that Face-thingy. How much does that cost?”. Don’t give numbers. Thank him for his interest and tell him that you can offer a variety of services and that you’d like to set up a meeting with him.

When you go to that meeting, have a presentation with you that explains in very easy terms what social media is, what platforms there are (a few of them) and how these sites can help his business. Follow up with case studies of businesses that have used social media marketing successfully in their approach. Stress the importance of the essential services, like training. Maybe show some examples of businesses that didn’t follow these best practices and how this has had a negative reputation on their brand.

I deal with stuff like this daily. That’s what I’m paid for. :lol:

The difficult part is that there are no cookie-cutter solutions. Writing proposal is very difficult and requires a lot of time. As with most proposals, you write heaps of them and only part of them can be transformed into business. This is why small shops might struggle with this, you got to be able to sell some serious budget to account for all the costs of business development.

I think you need to have a client willing to put the time in. You can put links to their social sites, and you can create the landing pages. But if the client doesn’t get involved it may be a waste of time. Also, it is important to recognize that presenting social links on the site should not distract from the purpose of the site. Sometimes those external links can dilute the click stream that would purchase products.

I deal with stuff like this daily. That’s what I’m paid for.

Well, im glad somebody does! :slight_smile:

I have to disagree with you on this. There is no “must-do” when it comes to social media marketing. It all really depends on the client. Twitter is still not very popular in most parts of Europe (Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg,…). Facebook is big, but not all brands and products do well on this platform.

In my part of the world Facebook is popular, twitter not so much. Their not into the social thing. But if you look at the net, irrespective of which hole of a country I live in, Twitter and Facebook are still the big 2. MySpace has kind of diversified into music, and many people have even commented on not using it. Delicious is also very
good, I use it all the time, rather than bookmark on my browser I can share my bookmarks which is cool.

Divide your proposal into different sections that go from the most basic offers to the most advanced.

It’s hard to. I mean there are so many things you can do with twitter and facebook and other ones. I did, but really, apart from creating a page on Facebook and putting the information in, you’re hardly going to do anything else. You can also put links on your website to your facebook page and advertise it, but that’s pretty much it. Maybe I will have to
read up more into it, who knows?

Most clients will phone you and say “I want to be on that Face-thingy. How much does that cost?”. Don’t give numbers. Thank him for his interest and tell him that you can offer a variety of services and that you’d like to set up a meeting with him.

Funny you should say that, somebody today did. I said it’s hard to say without me knowing the exact facts. But I did not give the lowest number and the highest I normally work with, maybe this was a mistake, I should not have said anything. :frowning:

Writing proposal is very difficult and requires a lot of time.

That’s not really a problem. Even though I am stuck for time I can always make time. I just plan it in my diary and that’s it.

The main obstacle for me is knowing what to devide things into and their naming conventions. I don’t really want to have anybody think I am trying to cheat them, or overcharging them.

It all depends. It’s very close call between saying my 15 year old son can do what you do for free!, and you’re a professional. It’s one of those I think.

Registering on different social websites and spending time, may be a time lose. The best way is to automize posting to the social media when adding new posts to the website. On the other hand, the social websites becoming a garbage for information. Not easy to find.

A proposal is easy to write. All it needs to have is how much your services will either increase revenue or decrease costs along with directly measurable facts that back your numbers up.

Anything more is just magic beans.

This is a terrific thread and thanks to Sega and Frank for sharing all the challenges and ideas to address them.

One additional suggestion - especially for clients that are not online savvy - I think it would help in proposals to describe how social networking compares to other traditional marketing techniques. For example, even though setting up a FB page or twitter account is free, there are similarities to buying ad spots in a newspaper or magazine or airtime on tv/radio. While the spot (the online page/presence) may be free, it’s still critical to prepare the ad copy (the online content), the message, the call to action, and the fulfillment.

Maybe explaining social networking in a traditional marketing context will help explain and justify the value to customers.

Also, another pricing approach, if you can properly explain the importance of ongoing maintenance, would be to charge little/nothing for the upfront set-up, but charge a monthly fee for ongoing maintenance, and sell it as a bundle package. That way there’s no huge price up front, but you will get paid over time.


I think that the part highlighted in bold pretty much sums up your problem.

Maybe I’m biased, because after all social media marketing is one of my main occupations at work, but creating profiles, adding contact information and broadcasting advertisements on these social media presences is just scratching the surface of what social media marketing can achieve.

I could write up a few of the blogs and Twitter accounts that I follow which offer great insights into social media marketing. I’d have to do this on the weekend though.

In the meantime, if you are really interested in expanding your business using social media marketing services, read “Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies” by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. It gives a very good insight on how to use social media platforms to communicate brand messages.

I would rather be present on a selected few, or even just one social website, and post quality updates, rather then being present on all of them and post automated garbage.

Keep in mind that social media isn’t broadcasting, it’s engaging and interacting. Your key messages and content have to be adapted to the platform in question. You don’t communicate the same way on Twitter as you would do on Facebook.

This is true, however the ROI of social media marketing is very difficult to calculate. As already stated, there are no cookie-cutter solutions, or magic recipes for success. Keeping that in mind, I would be very careful about promising huge sales increases in my proposal. Fix your goals, choose your key performance indicators wisely and track everything.

Joebert mentions something very interesting though: shifting budget from traditional marketing to social media may yield more measurable results at a lower cost. Food for thought.

This is a very good idea, although you shouldn’t forget to point out what specific advantages interactive social media has in opposition to one way media like newspapers, TV and radio.

Actually I am experiencing in managing social networking of one of my client, sometime you really get mad on them not like you are using harsh words to them, from heart I mean. As they want us to do those things which can’t be happen in our social networking work e.g. having having traffic on their website and rank their to the top in two days, rome can’t be build in one day, they don’t wait actually, they need everything to be done in quick time.

In my case it probably is, but I enjoy getting more followers. I have around 800 now, which is fun. I spend around 5 - 10 minutes a day on twitter and facebook. I’ve linked both accounts up, I also have a Flikr page, which pretty much corresponds to me photos on Facebook. Ideally I would put Flikr in facebook, if I can, to eliminate duplicated flying on the web.

I thought so too.

Thanks :stuck_out_tongue: I will take a read at it.

Keeping that in mind, I would be very careful about promising huge sales increases in my proposal.

Giving proposed sales forcasts would put us in the realm of an investment company. I think maybe giving this impression is dangerous. Nobody can guarantee anything from this. If the user tweets about his dead cat, and he sells cars, then maybe it would not do anything for him. It’s hard to know what to do.

I want to use Facebook for advertising because alternatives in the real world are far too expensive. I was quoted 100 euros per day of an advertising slot in a newspaper.

If you think about the whole process of social advertising, and social marketing altogether, it sounds very back handed. How can I justify that the client will be paying for 30 euros worth of facebook ads, but have to pay more, rough figure, 50 euros for my management. Would he not be inclined to do this himself.

I strongly feel that we have to tred slowly on this matter. How can one justify his costs. It’s like the beginning of the internet when any dick-tom and harry thought he could create a website with HomeStead or Yahoo Geocities. Believe it or not this was the beginning of the internet. Most sites I visited back in '97 were made in one of those two platforms (I think I had one too). Maybe this is a similar thing. Until social media marketing matures it will be hard to convince clients otherwise (my opinion).

I know you do this for a job, and more importantly, I don’t, but can you not see the potential problems one might face. I think this is very similar to the Geocities situation here were clients would say “screw you, my younger son or nephew can you what you do for free!”. Once I read up on this maybe I will see things differently, and maybe even convince clients otherwise. But other than the basic things I cannot see more.

Twitter - RT, following and direct messages
Facebook - mention companies and people, link to twitter, put photos and videos, contact information, opening times, holidays, and URL.

To be honest, my younger brother with a little practice can do this for me, maybe I should hire him. Do you see the problem? If I can’t convince myself, how can I convince somebody else? I am not saying that my brother could do a perfect job, but he could probably get all the basic company information up there, and he knows about photos and videos. He plays farmville too, if that counts, which even complicates my situation further.

Most parents know their children use facebook, and probably play games there too. My dad is a computer noob and when my brothers are on Facebook he can tell straight away from the interface and normally shouts and forces them to study. My farther would never need the internet for anything, but let’s say somebody tried to sell him something on Facebook, would his first thought be my son can probably do this for me.

It’s a very complicated topic.

If a company doesn’t want to take charge of their own social network marketing, there are a lot of PR firms who- for a fee- are perfectly happy with taking care of daily facebook and twitter tasks to help promote the site. So once it is set up, the clients can hire a PR company to tend to it. This might be an option for clients who are very “hands off” without getting the development company entrenched into doing these time consuming tasks for free.

The company I work for does this and it works out very well, we don’t have a lot of staff and I’m the only techie on the team.