In the PR Group on LinkedIn (must be a member to view the discussion), some asked, “How do you justify fees to clients in an era of social media?” I believe many PR and marketing consultants have faced this as potential clients believe that social media is “free.”
I think there are two parts to this equation that we need to consider before answering the question, assuming that we’ve done the background work of evaluating target audience, prospect personas, and the channels where these individuals congregate.
First, Defining Social Media Monitoring: This entails helping the client to listen, monitor and respond to what is happening on key channels of import to the client. For example, I rarely recommend B2B clients monitor Facebook while Twitter and LinkedIn are channels to consider. This can be done either through a service or establishing the right searches to encompass 75-80% of their universe.
Second, Positioning Social Media Marketing: This encompasses more than point 1 but looks at how social media fits into the larger marketing funnel for the company. It involves closely collaborating with your client and its marketing team to understand how social media fits into the sales cycle for the organization. Maybe a Twitter inquiry is at the beginning of the funnel while a LinkedIn discussion is at the purchase phase. This intelligence can be drawn from the organization’s existing lead generation programs – yet, you may discover an opportunity to help an organization refine or establish this process because of the focus to start a “social media” program.
I find that many prosepctive clients confuse social media monitoring with marketing. Yes, while the first point is “free” and can be done exclusively by the client, the second part provides the larger context of how social media fits into the marketing strategy. This is the value that consultants – PR, marketing and/or social media – can provide to organizations. And I believe this is what will sell clients on social media programs.
What do you think? How have you sold social media within your organization?