One of the things we get asked a lot about is the actual structure of the social media side of our business. How we kick off campaigns, how we create our strategies and are contracts really necessary (spoiler, yes, yes they are).
So today we're giving you a breakdown of the 5 things we think are absolute MUST-HAVE's for your social media business. We're talking start to finish, a step-by-step of the exact systems we use in our business -- which we've finessed over the last 10 years in the industry. Things that will apply to your business no matter if you're working with local businesses or global brands (because we've used with both). We also wrote this post so that it will be relevant to you whether you're just starting out and getting your systems in order or have been in the industry for awhile and are just curious how others organize things or if there's a better way to do things than how you are now. So let’s get down to biz on the essentials.
First things first, make sure you have a legally sound contract for your services. Your contact should outline exactly what you will be doing and your fees for such, what you are responsible (or not) for, your payment schedule, your cancellation or refund policy, etc. This is absolute imperative for your business and it’s so important that you have this drafted up and signed by both parties before you start any work. For reals, we’ve heard of way too many people getting burned and while this isn’t a glamorous step it’s so important. Trust us, don’t skip this step whether you’re working with your best friend’s mom or someone you met at an awesome conference you went to. Make sure you have your booty covered legally. You can find several lawyers who specialize in working with small businesses online and if money is in a pinch there are also some services that create fill in the blank type contracts that you can adjust for your business. #GetItDone.
Social Media Questionnaire
Once you’ve taken care of the logistics part of your campaign, it’s time to dive in! We kick off our projects by having our clients fill out a simple questionnaire. This helps our clients solidify their goals in writing as well as provide account logins, go over the styles they like, etc. Which BTW, you can download the exact questionnaire we use for our campaigns at the bottom of this blog if you want a little guidance. When you’re creating your questionnaire the key is to keep it simple enough that your clients aren’t spending hours on it, but detailed enough that you have what you need. We use the answers in the questionnaire + our introduction call to craft our detailed strategy. Here are a few questions we include in ours:
If you have social media accounts created, who is managing the accounts currently? Please explain your past techniques, content, etc.? What has been effective and what hasn’t?
Are there any blogs, websites, or other social media accounts that are relevant to your brand that you monitor regularly and could be used as content resources? Please explain and include links.
In terms of visuals, is there a specific aesthetic you’d like us to stick to for photos or graphics? Please provide branding guidelines if available.
Another key element of our questionnaire is asking clients ahead of time about answers to some common questions they get (or if they’re new, questions they foresee coming up). This allows us to hit the ground running and have prepared answers for those questions so that we don’t have to check in with our client for every little thing right at the beginning. This frees them up to do other things in their business (hiii why they hired you right?!) and you to be empowered to handle community management efforts from the get-go.
If you are working with an established business having an audit checklist prepared can help you streamline your process when it comes to developing your strategy. We do a simple version of this when we create proposals for clients, but we save the detailed audit for once clients sign with us. Working in the social media industry you always have to find that balance of giving your clients enough information and suggestions during the proposal portion to let them know you have some direction and know your ish without giving everythingggg away.
Once our clients have filled out their questionnaire, the next step for us is to go through our audit checklist internally. This step is all about evaluating all of their social media accounts and analytics to really digging in to what has been working for them, what isn’t, how we should plan our posting and engagement schedule, etc. We’re all about having systems that make it easy to go from step to step so having the things you want to check written down in advanced can speed up the process. We also include a few blank sections at the bottom so that we can fill in anything else really specific to their accounts that might not be in the standard audit. Things you may want to include in your audit are:
What is their current growth rate over time and how does that relate to their goals (If you’re managing Facebook or have access to historical data)?
What types of posts have received the most engagement or impressions? Is there a pattern between those?
What are the demographics of their current audience and does that correlate with their target audience?
What types of hashtags have they used on their Instagram posts in the past and does that correlate to top posts?
Based on their explanation of their past social media strategy, what parts will you preserve or change?
Do they have assets available to use or user-generated content that has not been used yet?
Your audit is all about guiding you through the questions and the types of data you want to evaluate so that you don’t miss anything along the way!
This is the meaty part of kicking off projects. We view this step kind of similar to the proposal in some ways. Obviously you really want to highlight some of the results from your audit and the exact strategy you’re going to execute to help them accomplish their goals. You also need to make sure it’s not super overwhelming too. No one really wants to read a 20 page strategy and you’re going to waste time creating a doc that massive too. We like to sign our clients and get right down to work so our process goes as follows: sign our client agreement and take care of their first month retainer (usually have their start date the following Wednesday), after that they fill out their questionnaire and get us any admin privileges prior to their start date, then they receive their full strategy within 2 business days of their campaign starting and their first content calendar the day after that. So as you can see, having processes to streamline this process is essential to getting things moving and moving fast! That New York City pace of life and work never really wore off on us 😜
So now that I’ve spilled on the process a little, what the heck should you be including in your strategies? Here are some of the things we include in ours:
Campaign logistics — covering how often clients will be receiving content calendars/analytic reports and any other details as well as edit protocol
Campaign objectives — what is it you are actually trying to accomplish?
Strategies & tactics — what type of tactics are you going to implement to accomplish the campaign goals?
Content categories/visual style — what type of content will you be sharing and how does it relate to the brand?
Social networking and follower strategy — what is your plan for engaging with other accounts?
Ad campaigns (if implementing in strategy) — what type of ads will you be using and how will you handle budget?
Analytic reports — how will you be measuring success?
The key here is to outline the main components of the work you’re going to be doing so that they feel comfortable with everything and can sign off on the content categories and schedule.
Analytic Report Templates
The last component you should definitely have ready to roll are your analytics report templates. Because tracking success is kind of a big deal! So it’s important to decide ahead of time how you will be measuring the success of your campaign. Plus creating a template ahead of time allows you to easily plug in the metrics when you need to according to your schedule. Everyone does these a little different, but we provide monthly reports for our clients that correspond with their start date (so if they start on the 18th they get a report that day each month). No matter what your schedule, the important part is to identify the types of metrics you will be tracking throughout your campaign. Don’t forget to take starting metrics too! Here are some of the things you may want to include in your reports:
Website referral traffic and rates
Engagement rates — likes, comments and post saves
Top posts and content categories
So there you have it, our 5 top suggestions! Our process has definitely been finessed over the course of our careers in the industry but these are systems and advice that have really benefitted our business and we hope hearing our process will help yours as well! Let us know if you have any further questions and don’t forget to download our questionnaire template below fo’ free!