Teresa Heath Wareing is one of the UK’s leading experts on social media marketing, working with people to address their social media challenges and give them ideas to help them improve their online presence.
Teresa is a popular keynote speaker. Her blogs have been featured on various well known social media websites and she’s the author of a book entitled ‘Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses’
Here she tells us, in her own words, how to manage your clients #LikeAPro.
Q1. As a social media or marketing freelancer, what are the key ingredients of good client management?
Before you get started I would get really clear on a few things. Who do you want to work with? Is it a certain size of business, a certain industry or location? Next what do you want to offer them?
Client Management means managing their expectations! Although it might seem overkill make sure you give them a very clear overview of what you will be doing and whose responsibility is what.
In terms of managing expectations, we find that many clients expect way more from the social media activity than is realistic. We often tend to try and play down possible results to help manage their expectations!
Q2. How can we improve our processes, especially for getting content from clients and being paid on time?
Firstly getting content from clients can be very difficult! I make it very clear to them when we onboard a client that this is a ‘partnership’ and although we can create some content using website and current assets, etc. we do need content from them.
To help them with this I give them a list of content ideas, i.e. the sort of thing I would like from them and we can set up a shared Dropbox so they have somewhere to put images videos, etc. I also send them regular reminders.
Managing cash flow can also be difficult. If you are doing Facebook ads I would insist you use their ads account (via business manager) so the money comes off their card. Also you could offer a small discount if the invoice is paid in so many days.
Q3. What are your tips for managing client expectations better?
Have a contract that lays out the rules such as:
- How many posts you are going to be doing
- What hours you will manage the account
- What hours you are available to them
- How many face to face meetings are included
- Your response times for engagement
- What proactive engagement you will do
- Your process for questions you can’t answer
- Where you will use images from
- How far ahead you will produce content
If then they start expecting things out of the contract you can go back to it. Be very realistic about what results they can expect to get while also making them aware you can’t guarantee anything!
Q4. How can make sure we charge our worth?
When I first started my own business (after 10 years in marketing and a marketing degree) there were lots of people doing social media that didn’t know their stuff! So I invested move time and money into learning online with experts and attending conferences.
This really helped when it came to charging as I had hard evidence I was worth what I charged! My hourly rate has now increased significantly since I started because of my credibility and exposure – speaking has really helped!
I would also say, stand firm! I have had many people tell me we are expensive and I don’t worry about it. They are obviously not the client for us.
Q5. How could we approach raising our prices if we end up delivering more than what was originally agreed or are close to capacity?
This is where a contract is helpful because if you find yourself doing things that aren’t on there it’s easier to bring it up and address it with the client. I would make sure you say that you understand things change and you are flexible, however it is different from what was originally agreed and ask to discuss options regarding you work going forward.
I would then give them the option of continuing with the extra work, but at an increased cost or if they don’t want to increase then you can review what work you can do at the current cost which may mean cutting out some activities.
Q6. How can we approach letting go of non-profitable clients?
I have had to sack a client before and in all honestly it’s not nice! Even though you know you don’t want to work with them it can be a very awkward conversation. For me it wasn’t about the money it was about the respect they had for me and my time.
Whatever the reason, stand firm. If you know you don’t want to work with them no matter what, then make sure you don’t give them an opportunity to talk you round! If it’s about money then I would explain that since working with them you have invested time and money in yourself which is obviously having a positive effect on them and your clients, however you are going to have to increase your prices in line with this.
Q7. What learnings can you share from running and growing your own business as a working parent?
When I started my business I was a single parent with no savings, no rich parents and a mortgage to pay! I had no idea what it was like to run a business and was very naive about what went into it! I thought because of my experience and knowledge it would be easy!
Five years on, I have a team of 7 based in 3 countries, I speak all round the world and have doubled my turnover each year! One of the best bits of advice I can give that helped me most, was to invest in you and your mindset! I know its sounds a bit lame but you could have all the skills, strategies and tools in the world, but if you wake in a morning feeling unmotivated, lacking confidence and with no focus it doesn’t matter how many cool marketing hacks you know, your business will not succeed!
As a parent, I’m very honest with my daughter (she’s 9) about how hard I have to work (including time away from her). I explain to her the benefits and I take pride in showing her what a hard working mum looks like and how we all benefit from it!
I have a vision board in my office and my daughter and I look at all the amazing things we are working towards (like only flying first class) and she can see why I do what I do!
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And if you’d like ideas for finding new clients, our co-founder Gemma Windham shares her top tips in this blog.