3 Ways To Set Realistic Social Media Marketing Expectations

As a social media marketer you’re most likely busy taking care of your clients and working on growing your business. So, what do you do when the business owners you meet have expectations you know aren’t realistic?

Anyone doing social media has come across those articles by gurus and experts that make it seem as if all a business has to do to be successful with their social media is to create the next best viral video or apply that one technique which will work wonders. Tell me you don’t cringe every time you across one of those articles?! I know I do; not because of the article per se, but because of its consequences. These types of articles make your next conversation with a business owner very challenging, but there are some helpful things you can do to resolve the issue.

Since, you haven’t built the necessary trust with your potential client (just yet), you are going to have to do a good job at showing them how social media really works and why your plan is effective even though it’s not the magical formula they’ve read about online.

  • Your first step is to have some stats. One of the best ways you can prove to a business owner that social media marketing doesn’t work miracles overnight is by showing them some proof. Social media industry reports, such as Social Media Examiner’s yearly reports, are a good place to start. With valid data you have something your potential client can’t ignore (as you share with them the process and strategy that will take place with their social media activity).
  • Secondly have some case studies ready. This may take some time to develop if you want to use your existing or previous clients’ social media networks and strategy as examples. Another way you can do this is by finding two or three brands that are doing a good job with their social media, implementing what you know includes best practices, and not brands that are famous. Build your case study by focusing on the social media marketing fundamentals the brands are applying and that are visible at a first glance (like consistent presence, mix of type of content, campaigns during the holiday season, the use of hashtags).
  • The third point you can make during your conversation is comparing social media to business planning. By highlighting this similarity and the fact that long-term strategy and perseverance are essential to business growth, you are speaking a business owner’s language and helping them to see how it is applicable to social media marketing. Knowing there are no quick fixes to growing a business, that it requires hard work and time, should be common knowledge to any entrepreneur.

By speaking the business owner’s language, having good case studies and social media marketing industry stats to prove what you’re saying to them is true, you should be able to correct their expectations on what’s really going to take place when their business takes on social media.

How have you overcome the expectations business owners gain from those “magical formula” social media marketing articles?

Dealing with social media faux pas to avoid havoc

Social media marketers know there are guidelines and rules in place for the social networks they manage, but not everyone reads or follows them. It may be because you didn’t see this one rule (as you skimmed through the long list of items) or you feel those rules are unreasonable, or maybe it’s because your client or employer has made a request that you want to meet.

Whatever the reason, you want to think twice before making that decision because you could ruin your entire marketing efforts.


One example that comes to mind involves business profiles on Facebook. I’ve encountered plenty of business owners who know they are not supposed to create business profiles, yet they still do it or they request this from their social media manager. Until Facebook finds you and shuts you down who cares, right? Well, not really. If your profile gets shut down, you lose everything; is this really what you want for your client or business? I don’t think so. Wouldn’t it be better to start things off on the right foot; create a page that you can build, and not have to worry about all your work disappearing all of a sudden? I would think that’s the better option.


Another example is LinkedIn’s site-wide guidelines and group rules. We all know they exist, but not everyone follows them. Then out of nowhere you get SWAM’d (you get added to the Side-Wide Automated Moderation list), which means your group posts no longer get posted; they are put in the group’s submissions queue for review. Unless the group moderators are actively checking submissions to approve posts every day, your posts may never get approved or they won’t until you get the group moderator to change your status back to “Approved to Post” and resolve the issue.

…and others

These examples provide only a few of the social media faux pas that commonly take place. Even though they seem minor, they are not; especially, when a business is using their online presence to increase brand awareness, visibility and sales. Sometimes mistakes happen, like with the LinkedIn SWAM issue. There are times when LinkedIn will take it upon itself to SWAM an individual, the group moderators don’t even know the group member has been SWAM’d. However, LinkedIn does have their specific site-wide guidelines, so even though groups are independent and have their own rules, you must follow LinkedIn’s rules to fall within their graces and avoid surprises. For the Facebook profile situation on the other hand, their Terms of Services make it pretty clear, “You will not use your personal timeline [Profile] primarily for your own commercial gain, and will use a Facebook Page for such purposes.” In this case, whether you are a social media marketer or business owner, you know you’re not supposed to set up a business profile.

Ultimately, the problem with not following social network rules is not the faux pas aspect; it’s the fact that in doing so you could hurt your marketing efforts and the business or businesses you represent. The next time you find yourself pondering not following a Facebook, LinkedIn or other social channel regulation, or not reading the platform’s guidelines; make sure you’re ready to suffer the potential consequences.

How do you deal with social media faux pas to keep your online marketing efforts in place?

How to share social media marketing insights with businesses

Recently I came across a comment by a business owner on the difference they saw between their success in using Facebook and email to promote their services. They found their email list to hold a higher response rate versus their investment in Facebook advertisement. This result shouldn’t come as a surprise to social media marketers; it is common knowledge that social media is only one component to an effective online marketing strategy. However, the reaction can be an opportunity for social media marketers to acquire inside knowledge that can assist them when taking on a new client.

Managing client expectations

Managing your client’s expectations doesn’t only include letting them know what social media services and results they can expect. It also includes sharing some of your insights on the industry. For example, how they shouldn’t necessarily expect their Facebook presence to lead to more sales than an email marketing campaign. For as much as this seems common knowledge, it is not for business owners who come across a number of articles that make it look like social media has the magic power to make their business make millions almost immediately

Establishing a long-term relationship

Being upfront with your prospects and clients also ensures that who you take on as a client will stay for the long-run. People like doing business with those who don’t promise them the unimaginable, but with those who are honest and straight forward with them. If a prospect doesn’t like what they hear or doesn’t believe you, better to lose them now than to work with them only to have them leave you as soon as they can. It takes time to set up a social media marketing campaign, you don’t need to invest that time on someone who doesn’t plan to stick around. Establishing a long-term relationship through sharing the right expectations is the best way to use your time and theirs.

A good portion of business owners associate social media with speedy sales; unfortunately for them, this isn’t how it works. By sharing your insights on social media and expectations you can avoid a disappointed client. Helping them to understand the nature of online marketing as a whole, ensures they are truly ready to make an investment and it will make you a reliable partner for them to work with if they choose to do so. Although the more clients the better, it’s the right clients that will help you grow your social media business.

Do you share social media marketing insights with your prospects or clients and did you find it to help your working partnership with them?

4 ways to use your competition to improve social media

Running out of ideas on how to engage and attract your customers or prospects on social media can happen. It’s not for lack of trying; sometimes it’s just a brain freeze or simply you can’t come up with something new. If there’s one way to acquire new ideas for your social media activity, it’s through your competitors.

There are different ways you can gather information from the competition. One of these is finding your shared fan’s interests. You can do this through Facebook’s graph search by searching for the interests of individuals who like a specific brand’s Facebook page. Your search results provide you with content that resonates with your community. You can then use that content for your social media posts or even to develop content for your blog and website.

Always through Facebook’s graph search you can also look for Facebook groups joined by people who like a specific Facebook page. This allows you to find those groups where your potential clients are and start engaging within those groups.

  • You will want to join in discussions, solve problems that members are having, and interact with group members.

These interactions make you visible to your target audience, but can also provide you with insights on problems and discussions your potential customers are having. From that information you can tweak your social media campaigns around specific topics and problems of interest.

Another way you can learn from your competitors is by taking a look at their Twitter activity.

  • What type of conversations are they having?
  • What type of content are they sharing?
  • Is their content receiving engagement?
  • Are their followers active in communicating with the brand?

With the conversations you observe you can understand what types of topics your potential customers are inclined to talk about. Use those conversations to come up with emotionally powerful visual content messages. Everyone knows that photos tend to create a higher emotional response, imagine the emotional connection you can create with a photo and the right message.

Last, but not least, observing your competitors’ hashtags can also provide you with ideas for your social media activity.

  • Find out which ones are the most popular and integrate them within your social posts and overall content.
  • You can also participate in conversations with those hashtags to engage with your potential customers, as well as increase your visibility.

Uncover influencers too through observing your competitors’ Twitter accounts. Try to notice whose content they are sharing, who they are retweeting and replying to on their Twitter network. This will give you a good idea of who can help you extend your reach and be a positive influence for your brand in the eyes of your potential customers.

In what ways do you acquire new social media ideas from your competition?

A unique way to maximize your social media activities

There are a number of ways you can maximize your social media activities. Typical tips tend to be practical in nature; they are what one could call inside the box techniques (for example: creating content calendars, using a set of social media tools or setting up to do lists). However, there are also out of the box techniques to consider implementing.

Organize social media tasks around your habits

One of these techniques is organizing your social media tasks around your habits. This means being objective about your habits (like knowing when you are more likely to be at your best and when you’re not, or the priority you give to different social media tasks). Sometimes professionals will set a list of things to do that they continuously fail to accomplish. Part of the reason is the fact that the items don’t truly fit in the individual’s list of priorities.

The idea that setting a goal means you will accomplish it is far from true; just look at all the people who don’t follow through with their new year’s resolutions. If you really want to get something done, you must go to the source, you. Know what you value as most important amongst your tasks, how you are motivated and what activities you may not necessarily feel are effective, but you’re telling yourself to do because you’ve been told to do so.

You can keep setting social media tasks that you won’t cross off your list, or you can understand why you’re not getting them done. Once you find the reasons, you can figure out the best way to integrate what you need to do with your ways and get them done; instead of trying to force yourself to change your ways and continue missing your objectives.

Leverage your high energy times

If you’re an independent marketer, you have more flexibility to work with yourself and your tasks; but if you are employed in an office, you are more limited. If this is the case, you can work with your habits to maximize your social media activities by taking steps to tweak your duties around your high energy times. At the least, you will accomplish your tasks at your best.

For those items that you have to do, but realize you are not able to give one-hundred percent (even in high energy times); try to understand the reasons behind your lack of performance. If it’s because you find the tasks tedious, try to look at them with a different perspective or set up a reward system of sorts for after you’ve accomplished the tasks. These techniques should allow you to raise your performance levels and even modify your perception of those tasks in the long-run.


The best way marketers can maximize their social media activities is to shape them around their own habits. Using all the outlines, calendars, and tools at your disposal won’t do much good if you haven’t found a way to make what you need to do, fit within the way you work.

What out of the box techniques do you use to maximize your social media activities?