I read a post on Facebook where a social media manager stated that “I charge a flat fee of $500 per account. That includes 2 posts per day on Facebook, 1 post/day on Instagram, 8 tweets /day for Twitter and 1 post/day Linkedin,” and I started to question why?

My reply was completely honest, and for the record – blunt:

“There are a few things I want to say about this thread, and please excuse me for being a bit gruff. First, a flat fee for a client account of $500.00 with a set amount of posts per day is first, null and void of a campaign strategy and also very reckless for the client.

That practice, without planning, is clearly not relevant to a study your clients key metrics, which are required successful social growth FOR your client. A campaign strategy is very important – what are the clients goals? What assets are you branding for your campaign goals? Are we just sharing to share? At the end of the day are your clients just paying to have “anything/something” posted to keep their page alive?

There was a comment that there has never been a calendar, which says to me there has never been a plan – so how do you measure your results? How do your clients who are paying you ever achieve an ROI? Is there an ROI?

If your clients don’t get results, is there data to examine to direct the campaign? I’m lost on the practice of treating their social marketing as reactive, and not being pro-active.

This page, while at times shares relevant information, also scares me because we have ground level people in the industry who are limited in social media expertise, yet they are at ground level hurting businesses in the process. If anything, there is too many people entering the industry and absorbing clients at pedestrian rates, and offering pedestrian services. This page, and the society have good information when you dig for it – and can help you do the best for your clients. It can help you become amazing in your strategy, and offer your clients the most for their money. I urge you to do that.

Take a step back and re-examine the “flat rate” and look into more of what your client’s needs are – and then re-assess how much time you have to put into helping them grow, instead of scheduling some posts per day to meet a requirement.

Again, I’m not meaning to be gruff, but a lot of people work very hard to meet campaign goals and study their clients metrics to adjust ways to meeting those goals – and ignoring those focuses does not help anyone.”

One person replied “That is a bit grumpy old chap.” So I had to question the environment that I was in.  Unseasoned “social media experts” with a lot of social media operative enthusiasm, but not a lot of marketing/strategy experience.  People who replied to me were fluffy and part of what I believe to be dangerous in this industry – off the cuff, know everything, and completely deaf.

Some people even chimed in to tell me that they were just giving their clients what they wanted – without hesitation.  “What I find is small businesses who are not as familiar with social media need to be promised some type of deliverable that they can see like number of posts etc. They seem to correlate the amount of posts with growth. Some are not looking for business growth right away just a “presence.

My thought on “giving they what they think they want,” is that isn’t helping the client at all!  So I took the time to explain myself:

“That’s great if you want to go through the motions and post just to post because the client thinks that is the right way. What kind of growth or conversions does a “look alive” function obtain when they could achieve better results with a well thought out strategy?

I hate to sound negative, but we are with our clients to consult and manage their social presence, and to guide them with our expertise! You’re the one they hired to drive the ship, much like a Doctor who has more medical knowledge than their patient. The Doctor isn’t going to give the patient what they want, just because they feel it’s what they need. The Doctor is going to run tests, analyse the results, and then come back with proper treatment.

You prove yourself to the client with the data you present, and your creativity in your campaign efforts. If there is room for improvement, edit accordingly. Honestly we left the “post more to keep alive” days when algorithms started restricting reach, only to expand reach due to the engagement of our content. The old staying “quality, not quantity” applies here.

In 2002 we built our own platforms to capture data, for me it started with custom street team pages that we maintained and operated for fans. They were part of our platform, and we gave incentives to keep them. They were our Army. To engage them, we simply had to do a rollout for them – we are X, if you do X for us, then we will X. Listen to this cool new single on X and then vote for X on MTV on this website.

It was our ad platform, a way to motivate people, and if it fell short of being captivating, we lost members. We could post updates until our face turned blue, but if the content we posted didn’t have a feeling of inclusion, belonging, or cater to a sincere relationship with X – we lost people.

This same principle is mathematical inside Facebook’s algorithm, it’s the same principle, only if you are posting just to “keep alive” the math is going to say “yeah, eh, seriously don’t think this is worth a large news feed audience.” 

I remember when MySpace launched, where everyone’s page was full of gifs, audio players, and embedded scripts. The best way to get someone to be your friend on a page, was to create something amazing to see on their page, and they would tell their friends about it. Strong campaigns built up popular MySpace pages, not just a bunch of junk on a page. 

Shortly after we had Facebook, then Facebook pages, and we had people coming together rekindling old relationships – picking interests, and again – customizing their Facebook experience like they did (albeit much more tolerable) than MySpace.

Ads came in, and people flooded timelines with advertising posts. Facebook said “do you all like this?” People said “nope.” So restrictions were placed on the content you deliver which cuts down on how often you post, and what you DO post is more apt to be visible if it’s content that is going to be engaging. There was an evolution out of what was organically discovered, and what was paid. 

So posting a million times a day does not help the client, it just fills up their page. Run your key metrics, organize a campaign, and then develop your content with branding to knock their socks off.

You will see a tremendous difference.

I’ve been doing this since 2002, in one form or another. I’ve also worked for major record labels and television networks, so I have been on the cusp of campaign concepts that we had to “create” for them to even come to life. When I say that we are the leaders of this industry, I mean we are the ones who guide our client.

To say that we just give them what we want, and they will pay for it is going to eventually kill the longevity of your relationship – because it’s going to be more and more of a requirement to plan and be strategic than to just have them see a post every day.”

and their reply was priceless (well, it came with a price):

“The management is just a foot in the door offer for us. When they want more they get a bigger package with the bells and whistles. It’s part of our sales strategy. It works for us but thanks for your input.”  

So basically what I was told is that “we will take their money, and when they really want us to work, we will tell them they have to pay more for us to take the time to do what we were supposed to be doing in the first place – the correct way.”

This is, yet again, another reason why you never want to pay unseasoned professionals to be entrusted with your business/brand.

Jake A. Wheat

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