How I would pitch my social media services to prospective clients.

social media fire hydrantI don’t offer professional social media services.

But if I were at a different stage in my career, I would. In fact, I would be all over social media.

Why? Because every successful freelancer fills a need on the client side. If you want to be a highly paid freelancer, you need to offer a service and skill set that companies desperately need. And right now I see millions of companies that desperately need help with social media.

Putting aside the tiny percentage of companies that are being really smart and successful with their social media marketing, I would address the other, much larger group.

These are the business people who feel like they are trying to drink from a fire hydrant. Information about social media and how they should use it is hitting them from every direction at an impossible speed. They feel battered and confused.

They know they should be active in social media, because that’s where so many of their customers spend a great deal of time. But the deluge of information and advice they are receiving is just too much.

Many of them have actually created business pages for Facebook, Google+ and so on. But, when you look at their pages, you can quickly see that they are not using them well. Either they contain a steady stream of promotional updates and posts, with no interaction or conversation, or they are more or less dead, with the last new entry dated some time last month.

These companies, and there are hundreds of thousands of them, or even millions when you factor in small companies, urgently need outside help from someone who can turn off the fire hose, help them take a deep breath and then rebuild their approach to social media. This is a strategic, consulting function.

So that’s the first place I would focus if I were getting into social media. And my promise to all those companies would be that I could help them integrate social media into their branding, customer service and marketing in an organized, effective and measurable way. I would help them do it right.

During that consulting process, another problem would raise its head.

Let me explain. One of the things I would say is that you can’t use social media pages simply as a broadcast medium, promoting your products, events and special offers. That’s not “social”. You have to “be there”. You have to participate, answer questions, and take part in a genuine, social conversation.

That means watching your social media pages hour by hour, every day. If you’re not paying attention and contributing, it’s not social.

At this point, many of my consulting clients would throw up their arms and say, “But we don’t have time for that! We have been automating our social media posts, tweets and updates. There is no way we can allocate people to “be there” all the time!”

I would then patiently explain that there is no getting around the fact that you can’t successfully be social if you are relying on automated systems and the occasional glance from someone in the marketing department.

One way or another, companies have to allocate real people to social media. For some companies that will involve hiring extra people. But for most, particularly while they are still finding their feet, this will mean outsourcing.

This is the second high-need opportunity I would address. Whether I did it myself or did some outsourcing myself, I would provide the eyes and bodies required to enable my clients to genuinely “be there” across their social media channels.

That’s it.

Like I said, if I were at a different stage in my own career I would be all over social media simply because there is such a huge demand for help.

And I would focus on the two areas I have described.

1) I would provide strategic services to help companies create a social media marketing plan that actually works and delivers results.

2) I would offer real people – myself and/or others – to actually be there on my clients’ social media pages.

These are the two areas where I think the greatest demand is right now.

Which option feels like the best fit for you?

NOTE: If this sounds like something that would be a good fit for you and your skills, find out more about my program, How to Make Money as a Social Media Marketer. It is published by American Writers & Artists Inc.

About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach.

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6 thoughts on “How I would pitch my social media services to prospective clients.

  1. Nice article, Nick! I think a market with huge potential for SM work is local government/public agencies. Budgets are too small for full-time SM position, but can usually handle consultant and/or outsourcing (no benefits for them to pay for).

    Unfortunately, many FEAR SM; they are paranoid about negative comments. Have you noticed that? A big part of the SM pro’s strategy should focus on helping these potential clients overcome that fear.

    Anyway, thanks for the excellent info!

  2. Option #2 is where I’d place the bulk of my time and emphasis.

    By its very definition, automating a social process does nothing
    but create distance between you and your client base. Introducing
    real people into the social media mix goes a long way to tearing down
    the perception that companies care more about profit building than
    relationship building. You can’t have the former without the latter.

    The more engaged you are with customers, the sooner you can
    address their concerns and solve their problems. As a result, they will
    reward you with their business because you earned it – not because
    you sold them on something.

    Stellar job as always, Nick!

  3. Great article Nick. How do you tackle the issue of representing a client in the social media arena without living and breathing their business? I’ve always found this an obstacle which is why I try and train the owner or a dedicated employee(s). Outsourcing can work in the initial stage of set up and network growth but the ongoing management needs to be handed over as early as possible or authenticity can be lost.

  4. Thank you, Nick, for your down-to-earth observations on social media. I’ve also been reading your emails through AWAI.

    Today I took a deep breath and bought the Social Media program. I’ve finally accepted that social media isn’t going to go away – and I need to learn what it takes to work with it. I was trying to ignore it. Like Rover – a German shepherd who went with his “family” to India, where they lived on a tea plantation. With elephants. Honest. And Rover refused to recognize that elephants really do exist. He’d walk right past them like they weren’t even there. Erased them. The whole working herd. It’s true! Well, until today, social media was my elephant.

    Your Copywriting 2.0 answered so many questions for me – I’m looking forward to Social Media.

    I just completed Copywriting 2.0 and dusted off the credit card to invest in your Social Media program. I learned so much from Copywriting 2.0 – writing for the web was something I’d skirted for too long. I thought I wouldn’t like it … was a bit in awe of it actually. Now – I love it!

    That’s why I took a

  5. Hi Nick, good article. We are a small Digital Marketing Agency based in Hove. We pride ourselves on excellent service for our clients. We tend employ external copywriters but have SEO professionals in house. I think the benefit for using external copywriters who are experts in their field is that our client have the benefit of the expertise according to vertical market. Any smaller agency can’t possibly afford to employ 10’s of copywriters each catering for different market segments.

    But what is certain all copywriters should be investing in learning to write for web. If the agency has done their work with the appropriate key words and these have been given to the writer to include in their article, it can save the agency valuable time and money by not having to do the page optimisation themselves.

    Best Steve.

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