4 Musts for Any Agency Offering Social Media


Lots of small and medium sized businesses are spending a lot of time on social media because they understand its potential. They typically fall into three categories: doing well at it and content to keep it going, doing well at it but ready to outsource it, and don’t know what they’re doing and want real help.

In many cases, it may make sense for these people to outsource their social media needs to the same agencies handling their public relations and other marketing needs. As a PR professional, you already know what’s going on within the client’s business, what their overall goals are, and how to get them in front of their ideal audience.

I’ve seen PR agencies and marketing agencies do some things right and some things wrong when providing social media services to clients. I’m here to share my insights so you can add social media to your service offerings without the risk of failing your client or spending all of your time on social.

Know what’s on the menu.
Before you offer social media services to your clients, you should know the different ways that you can “slice” social media. Some clients might want full social media management that covers content creation, audience engagement, inbox monitoring/customer service and ad buys. But you may choose not to offer the whole enchilada. You may decide it only makes sense to provide prewritten social media posts that the client can schedule to accompany a public relations campaign you’re managing more fully for them.

If you break it down, you can offer clients:

Content calendar: This can mean different things to different people, so be sure to define it for within your own agency and be clear about its meaning to clients. It might mean a simple list of weekly themes they should follow, a yearly calendar that outlines several campaigns, or a day-by-day list of pre-written tweets, posts and updates.

Scheduling: This is simply the scheduling of social media posts to be sent at a predetermined time from within a tool such as Hootsuite. If the client insists on approving the prewritten content each week, you may want the client to handle scheduling so that any delays in approval do not affect your ability to schedule the updates to go out on time.

Engagement/Audience growth: This is the daily maintenance of the client’s platforms and real-time interaction with audiences. This includes following those who follow the client’s competitors to grow their own following and reposting and liking content from other users to get their attention. Related to this is customer service or inbox monitoring wherein you keep an eye on the social media messaging inboxes to keep track of any concerns customers have with your client’s business. You might answer these customer concerns if you’re equipped to do so or to quickly notify the client of messages that require their attention.

Ad buys: Do you want responsibility to creating ad campaigns to reach new followers, drive traffic to the client’s website, or boost posts on Facebook? How about sponsoring tweets on Twitter or posts on Instagram? This might include the creation of graphics that won’t get rejected by Facebook and reporting the results to the client.

Reporting: Whatever social media services you offer, you’ll want a system for reporting analytics so they can track progress on social media. Social media managers do reporting in different ways. Hootsuite has built-in analytics tools, Facebook has pretty advanced analytics in its Page management system, and even Twitter lets you track the reach of your tweets. There are plenty of others tools you can use. Some clients will only care about their number of followers going up while others will want to know what messages are outperforming others.

Get an ally in the client’s office.
Inevitably, there will be “fires.” You’ve seen it time and again with media placements and other PR elements: the client’s name was misspelled or there was a word missing from their quote and they want you to fix it RIGHT NOW! Well, it happens with social media too. The client might notice a word misspelled or a missing period and want the tweet or post edited or deleted right this very second. Now, you’re busy. While PR pros pride themselves on being well-caffeinated and quick to respond, it just isn’t always possible. The best thing to do to prevent client frustrations in this situation is to ask them up front to appoint someone on their own team that you can train to be responsive in an “emergency.” Then teach them the basics of editing or deleting. You might even make it super clear by giving them a handy tipsheet they can keep nearby that tells them if a post on a platform is able to be edited or must be deleted, etc.

Keep PR & social media on the same page.
If you can’t have the account executive that’s already handling the client’s PR do their social media (some of your account execs won’t be comfortable in that role or have the bandwidth to take it on), make sure that the person managing their social media has really easy access to the account exec handling PR. This is especially important when your clients have had your agency handle their PR for a long time and are just now handing over social media. Your account exec likely already knows what’s going on inside the client’s company or knows how to get that info out of the client. The person in charge of their social media needs that information too. While social media can consist largely of news aggregation and other forms of content that aren’t breaking news about the company, their social media will feel naked without such updates from within the company.

Feel free to give the client homework.
Don’t feel like because you’re taking money from the client to manage their social media that it should be entirely off their plate(s). You might ask that clients email you articles you can share from their feeds, share updates from the company page to their personal pages, or upload images in real-time from major events they’re participating in (or texting those images to you so you can upload them).

There’s a lot to consider when you’re thinking of or starting to offer social media services to clients. This really is just a brief list of the things I’ve seen other agencies mess up.

Rosella LaFevre is a marketing consultant helping solo entrepreneurs, small businesses and C-level executives with marketing strategy, public relations/thought leadership and social media. She’s also a business and marketing coach helping entrepreneurs do more good and make more money. If you want an outsider to consult on your agency’s approach to social media for clients, schedule a consultation here.

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Top 5 Things I’ve Learned Moving From Nonprofit to Agency


A few months ago I made the leap from working in a small nonprofit to work in an agency. After almost two years in my first post-college position, I was ready to try new adventures and see how far I could stretch myself in a different environment. In midst of the excitement, I was terrified. I didn’t have a closet full of suits, I didn’t know how to keep time records, nor did I know how to juggle more than one client at a time. I only knew how to take care of one client, the nonprofit. However, underneath the nervousness, I couldn’t wait to begin working with a new team and learn more about my strengths and weaknesses.

Over the last three months, I learned a great deal about what it is to survive the “agency life.” I am still learning and am continually eager to stretch myself and see where my skills can grow. Listed below are the top five things I’ve learned moving from in-house to agency:

1. Be Flexible. Moving from one work environment to another can be a tough transition. From learning new office policies to figuring out how your new coworkers operate, you may become mentally drained in the beginning. However, you should absorb as much as possible from your new environment and remain flexible. If you allow yourself to be open-minded and mentally flexible, you will learn how to efficiently use your time and work alongside of others.

2. Practice Good Time Management. Time management is important in any professional position. Prioritizing work and ensuring all tasks are done in an appropriate timeline is an ideal responsibility for any employee. In an agency setting, I learned that my time is extremely valuable and I need to manage it well to be as effective as possible.

3. Keep Good Time Records. One of the things I was most nervous about was learning how to keep time records. Since I came from a nonprofit, I had no clue how to record my time because I never had to do that before. All I kept thinking was, “How am I going to remember what I did every 15 minutes?” After a week or two, I started to understand how to log my time and keep good records. I learned, very quickly, to write down when I begin and finish each project. That way, I am fairly billing a client for my work, and I can see what I did instead of going off my memory.

4. Be Adaptable. I cannot stress how important it is to understand that your day in an agency is not cookie-cutter. For the first half hour you may be writing a news release for a client, then two minutes later you get an email from another client and you have to drop what you are doing to work on something for them. In the beginning, I would feel pressure when I would be forced to put something I was already working on on-hold, but that went away. In that moment, you have to judge what task is more time sensitive and then manage your time accordingly.

5. Have Fun! I have enjoyed this transition experience. I went from one fun work environment to another. I learned so much about myself already, and I want to keep the momentum going. Transitioning from one position to another can be scary, but you can also allow yourself to have fun at the same time. Get to know your coworkers and laugh every now and then. After all, what good is the new experience if you can’t share it with your coworkers, who are also going through the same transition?

The leap from nonprofit to agency, in hindsight, wasn’t what I thought it would be. I had enough clothes, I learned how to log my time and I have managed several clients at once. Although I have made some mistakes and learned a lot on how to work more efficiently, this experience has been worth every minute.

This post was written by PPRA Recruitment & Retention Chair, Darrah Foster. Darrah is a Senior Associate at Anne Klein Communications Group, where she is a member of account teams serving clients in several industries including healthcare, utilities and financial services. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.