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I’ve been working in a client service role for a long time. During my corporate years, my project management positions had me interfacing directly with clients, their needs, their timelines, their preferences, their personalities and their expectations. And while social media is a different beast than what I was doing in my offline corporate marketing career, working with clients has always meant setting clear, logical, reasonable expectations.

Social media managers frequently run into the same handful or 2 of unrealistic expectations. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ones and why they aren’t good expectations to set for your business.

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8 Things your Social Media Manager Dreads Hearing you Say

In no particular order…

  • “Let’s try this for a month!” A month simply is not enough time to see how well a new initiative works. Not for social media. Not for traditional forms of advertising. Not for a new hire. And really not for anything else in life. Would you expect a huge change after only a month on a new budget or a month at the gym? You may start to see signs of progress after 3 months, but the average length of time you need to give social media is 6 months. Then reevaluate at that point.
  • “I found the most perfect image to use on Google!” Just because you found an image using Google search – even if you specifically visited Google Images – does not mean you can use it as you wish. If you look closely, even the images that pull up within the filtered “Labeled for reuse” have the disclaimers that “Images may be subject to copyright”. You are better off taking or creating your own, using free photo sites like Pixabay or MorgueFile (they provide public domain images), or paying for a stock photo site subscription.
  • “I need 5,000 followers, stat!” Growing a big following takes a lot of time! Plus, numbers for the sake of numbers means nothing. Sure there are a lot of tricks – good or otherwise – you can use, but having a bunch of people who follow you is worthless if they aren’t engaging with you in any way. Also, keep in mind how your social media profiles will present to others. Sure, they’ll see the big follower number but they’ll also see how you get no interaction from those followers.
  • “I think that’s dumb.” I can’t tell you how to feel, but I can tell you how things work. You might think something is dumb, but it is just the way it is. Either adjust your tactics and expectations, or understand you aren’t going to be successful at something if you aren’t going with the flow.
  • “I need to approve all content!” We’ve worked with clients in this manner before and while we are happy to do so, please note that it takes a lot more time on both sides and usually means you miss several opportunities to be timely and relevant. If there’s something trending, for example, you typically can’t wait for approval. By the time you get it, it’s old news and not worth posting about. Trust your social media manager to know what’s best for your business, and let them do what you pay them to do. You’ll be better off for it.
  • “Everything you post MUST be tied back to the brand!” No. In fact, if you constantly talk about yourself, people will lose interest and fast. I always recommend that all content by ‘relevant and complementary’ to your brand and your ideal customer type (Sorry, but cat videos aren’t universally a great idea), but all posted content should not be about your brand.
  • “I’m not interested in paying for Facebook ads!” That’s fine, but know that it will be extremely difficult to grow your page, get your most important content seen, and gain any type of Reach on your individual posts. You don’t need to constantly run ads on Facebook. But a modest monthly budget to promote well-chosen content to a highly-targeted audience will go a long, long way for you, both on Facebook and in your bottom line.
  • “I see contests that ask for ‘Shares’ all the time!” I know. I do, too. But that still doesn’t make it legal in Facebook’s eyes. You cannot ask for Shares as part of you contest entry. You can ask people to leave a comment and like your Page, though, which is still pretty awesome.

If you have a good social media manager working with you, simply ask your questions and then listen to what they have to say. Social media has so many parallels to the offline business world, but it really does still have its own unique set of rules to live and work by. Trying to ignore social media best practices is only going to hurt you and your business in the end.