Getting to knowww youuu, getting to know all about youuuu, getting to like you, getting to hope you like meee, getting to know you, putting it my way, but nicely…
I apologize for getting this Julie Andrews song from The King and I stuck in your head for the next fifteen hours, but it’s important to think about. How do you get to know your social media team? After all, their job is to get to know you so well that they can literally speak for you on your social media platforms. When someone is your voice, what is important to know about the process of onboarding them to your mission and list of goals?
This process is actually incredibly important to discuss before you hire a social media contractor, as I’ve learned from hiring independent social media contractors in the past. When interviewing firms or companies for my clients, I make sure to ask a few things.
First, how will they get to know my client? How much time will they spend in the process of doing this and most importantly, how much will that cost? Is the agency going to spend five months shadowing my client to learn their “voice”? If they charge for “getting to know you time,” which many do, what exactly am I paying for during the time spent on this process? Will this time impact time-sensitive campaigns or events I have coming up?
I have received some proposals with absolutely astronomical amounts of time budgeted for onboarding, with almost nothing concrete to show for it. That was a red flag to me, and should be for you too.
However, time that I didn’t question during the hiring process was billing for additional time frontloaded to set up social media platforms, etc. It takes more time to create a Facebook page, update information, and establish a blog at the very beginning of a relationship, and that’s concrete time that I know is being spent on something that my client will completely own.
For any new partnership, be patient with the time it takes for the contractor to get to know your brand, and help them along with the process. Do you spy a piece of content that you think they could repurpose for your blog? Send it to them so that they get the idea of what you’re looking for. Give feedback on what you like and what you don’t, so that you can establish patterns to ensure success during the rest of the partnership.
It is a growing, evolving relationship, just like making a friend. Patience is the key here, but do not let yourself be taken advantage of. A great contractor will research your company, establish an effective strategy, and go from there, growing and improving along the way.
The more you can do to help that process along, the better, but remember that it’s their job to be really, extraordinarily good at pinpointing a brand identity and messaging it efficiently and effectively.
Image Credit: CC by Sam Valadi