Have a stash of Tylenol ready if you plan on becoming a social media consultant!
Yes, the job is fabulous: you get to work with a wide array of clients and industries, you make your own schedule, and you get to play on social media all day, but what is rarely discussed is the headaches you also encounter.
It is the exact nature of a social media consultant–the fact that you work on multiple accounts– that is the reason for so many headaches. That’s because no two accounts are exactly the same, and no two problems are the same either. As a social media consultant you will be juggling multiple accounts, logins, problems, systems, billings, and platforms. It’s still worth the journey, however, and as you become more versed in dealing with clients, you will begin to understand ways to avoid and tackle sticky situations.
Common Problems Social Media Consultants Encounter (and how to fix them)
1. Lost logins and other admin issues. By the time a potential client reaches out to a social media consultant, chances are they, or someone else, has already established some or all of their social media user names. The problem is, often they don’t remember their logins, or the former employee/significant other/consultant who established the accounts is no longer in the picture (or worse, is denying access rights out of spite!).
How to deal with it: Ask for a list of any known email addresses, usernames and password combinations they can think of, and then use those to try to access the accounts. Some of the social platforms will allow you to click “Forgot the username?” link which will send an email to the account you are trying to access, and then you can see what email address the account is linked to, solving half your problem. If that doesn’t work, you can try to report the business page directly to Google or Facebook, etc., but that is generally a long process with little result.
2. Territorial issues. Often, a client who has been using an admin, intern, or other office personnel to fill in on their social media hires a social media consultant, leaving the office worker feeling left out or blinded by the decision. All of sudden the consultant is working through territorial and ego issues, becoming public enemy No. 1.
How to deal with it: Even in the initial stages, make sure all parties involved are part of the planning process. In your initial meetings, ask the client who currently handles their social media (even if it’s on a very lax basis) to be present, and ask the client to make sure they are aware of your presence. During editorial and planning meetings, ask office personnel to be present, compliment some of the things they’ve done, and ask them what they would like to see in the future. Ask them how much they want to be involved.
3. Passwords, passwords, everywhere. With five or more social media platforms each, and multiple clients, the number of username and password combinations are endless. Often, it’s hard enough for the client to keep them straight, let alone you!
How to deal with it: Try to avoid tying business accounts to personal accounts whenever possible, so they are easily transferable. Always make sure there is a second admin on each account (i.e. the business owner) besides yourself so they will never be without access. Keep a spreadsheet for each client in a share drive with their login, username, passwords, and URL for each social site. We also recommend creating a Gmail account for each client, which you can use to login into every single social account, so that the owner is not bogged down with social media news and updates. Finally, for yourself, consider using a password App, so one login accesses all your accounts.
4. Same industry, same consultant. When you have a specific set of knowledge and successfully make your mark within an industry, you become very popular within that industry. That can sometimes cause competing clients to both seek you out, causing a conflict of interest.
How to deal with it: First, it’s always best to be honest with your clients. If you have two clients in the same industry, talk about why that’s an advantage because it allows you to gain a lot of knowledge about the entire industry and allows you to differentiate the two businesses and define each of their competitive advantages. Discuss unique ways you will approach their account that’s different from what others in the industry are doing. Discuss your confidentiality policy and reiterate your professionalism. Give examples of other industries where there was two similar clients and how that was an advantage to both.