Social Media Strategy, Social Media Marketing

Clients Are Hot for Social Media Teachers

social-media-schoolIf you’re a PR firm or any sort of professional marketing services organization, I have an assignment for you. Before the end of this week, make an organizational commitment to educating your clients on social media basics.

In the scramble to establish social media service offerings, and to win the struggle for social media control, PR firms and other agencies have overlooked the critical fact that their clients in most cases don’t have enough knowledge to make a buying decision.

Jennifer Leggio (@mediaphyter) writing on her blog at ZDNET conducted a survey of 541 corporate PR decision-makers and found some startling results regarding social media understanding. (charts reprinted with Jennifer’s permission)

As shown above, nearly 80% of respondents felt it is extremely important for their PR agency to understand social media strategy. That should put to rest any “my clients don’t care about this” thinking.

Feed Their Head

Here’s where it gets really interesting. 63% of surveyed respondents believe they have something to learn about social media (which means that about 85% actually do).

And where could they learn about social media trends and best practices? From YOU, their PR counsel. Whether it’s a Webinar, newsletter, live seminar in your office (or theirs), or Cirque du Soleil-style psychedelic, acrobatic performance art, you should be training your clients on social media NOW.

3 reasons why:

1. If you don’t train them, one of their other agencies (advertising, digital, media) will, and that will position them as the social media experts.

2. If you conduct real training, devoid of sales pitch, many clients will naturally come to the conclusion that social media trial or program expansion is a great idea. Training helps the idea belong to the client – and everyone knows how important that is.

3. They want to do it. Just look at this chart:

82% of respondents said they would attend social media training conducted by their PR agency. If you can get 82% of your clients to agree to anything else, including the need to breathe air, you’re either extraordinarily persuasive, or have a customer base with unusual, lemming-like tendencies.

Don’t worry about charging for it, just make it happen. The training I’ve done in this regard for clients of Off Madison Ave has worked out great. I find it’s much better to do it in groups, instead of one client at a time. Clients like to meet each other, and if you can make some good social connections between your clients, you’re that much more valuable.

Note that Jennifer is conducting part II of this survey right now, assisted by Nicole Jordan. If you work in PR for a company, please participate.

(photo by Avolore)