As social media adoption continues to rise, businesses find themselves at different levels over time. At first, you’d be wondering if this is something you want to get into. Then you do, and never look back. Working with different clients from different industries, I have noticed a trend for clients’ adoption of social media. I will go over each of these phases from my personal perspective next.
At the beginning, it’s a mixture of exciting and skeptical feelings. Some clients aren’t sure whether they should get into this relationship or not. Simply because they have no idea what’s in it for them but their friends (competitors) were already in it and showing off.
Lack of social media knowledge and risk aversion can keep clients away from exploring this “new” world. However, they eventually take the plunge and gradually discover it (small clients), or through RFPs for clients with big budgets.
The journey begins.
2-Getting to Know Each Other
This is where clients become attached to their brand’s social networks and monitor every step their online customers or their agency do. A lot of whys and hows are asked, a lot of what happened here and what happened there, and of course the “I want it this way”.
Here, there’s another important role for every agency; educating their client to build a partnership. Even though some clients might be very much into social media and already educated, the account manager at the social media agency still needs to keep a client up-to-date with trends in social media. What I’ve learned is that it doesn’t need to be a fancy document or a report; it can be a simple link with brief description of why this link is worth sending.
Clients now are experiencing social media on a personal level as well, getting excited about people’s reactions and interactions. They would like to invest more and try new things. Sharing interesting links and case studies from all over the world, and want them to be applied for their local brand, etc.
4-The Ups and Downs
As with every relationship, there will be ups and downs. Agencies or any social media manager has always to be on top of things in case of milestones to celebrate or online crisis to manage.
Building a partnership from day one, and working constantly on gaining client’s trust by seizing every opportunity available (and creating one if there isn’t one in the horizon) should happen naturally with one goal; to add value.
Adding value is a key.
Eventually, if everything is working according to a clear strategy and goals, clients will adopt social media and make it part of their day to day and structure. This is the phase where brands are ready to become social business and climb the hierarchy of social media needs to the top.
What phase do you think you are at right now? Do you think you’re getting closer to the next phase?