Working as a freelancer or startup agency in the social media space is no cakewalk — regardless of how many followers you may have.
For starters, you’re up against questions like these: Is social media marketing dying?
With Facebook’s recent implications in data privacy scandals, it’s not uncommon to find more and more businesses questioning just how valuable these platforms are to their bottom line.
On top of that, you’re a small business. And depending on how fresh you are on the scene, your small business is juggling building your brand, client roster, and handling the business side of things.
While your rates may be more affordable in comparison to the more established agencies out there, why would someone hire you over their co-worker’s wife’s sister’s niece? Yes, the one who just graduated from college and can talk circles around everyone else in the office on Snapchat Stories.
Well, if you’re at the point where you’re reading an article like this to get your business ducks in a row, you likely already have a fair amount of pre-planning under your belt. You’ve chosen a social media management platform to work with, have offerings in place, and a strategy for delivering on services sold.
You have the experience and can pitch to a client on the longer-term goals involved in any good social media marketing program. You know how to translate business objectives into ROI — not just posting stock photos with a plethora of hashtags for the sake of it. You know not just how to create a Snapchat Story, but how to outsmart their algorithm for greater impressions.
All of this (and more) is what you have to offer. Now, you’ve just got to look the part.
Doing that requires you to be organized, thorough, and efficient in your processes. All of which starts with having the right process documentation to refer to when closing a deal.
Here is some of the process documentation and professional documents you’ll want to have on hand when working with social media clients:
- Social media business contracts
- Invoices for payment
- New client onboarding documentation
- Social media analytics reports templates
- Social media client case studies
Social Media Business Contracts
Not having a standard contract is perhaps one of the biggest mistakes that you can make when bringing on a new client. Legitimate businesses aren’t scalable on “gentleman’s agreement” terms.
This is especially true when you’re a one-person show. You are not just a social media manager — you’re a salesperson, an accountant, and the head of HR.
No one else will hold you accountable for your own lack of preparation or goodwill when clients are acting unscrupulous.
Do your research on how to create a contract that will protect you from experiencing unnecessary headaches down the road.
For most contracts, consider fleshing out terms that include:
- A down payment/setup fee
- Payment deadlines
- Project scope
- Set expectations around availability (or lack thereof) in terms of holidays and off-hours
- Room for factoring in an attorney fee pending any legal issues arise
- Copyright ownership
- Cancellation terms
- Deliverables with defined due dates
When in doubt, if you’re unsure where to start, download a contract template and personalize it as your own.
Invoices for Payment
Lamenting that you’re “not a numbers person” is an excuse worth dropping sooner rather than later.
A few key tips:
- On your invoice, make sure to itemize any deliverables or services done in the relevant payment period.
- Make note of your terms, the due date, and provide guidance regarding how clients can pay, if it hasn’t already been discussed.
- Most importantly, stay consistent with your invoicing sends every month. If you forget and send one late, that only means that you will get paid late, as well.
New Client Onboarding Documentation
After the contract has been signed, the real work begins. It’s time to put your expertise to work and implement your strategy to drive success for your new client. Now you have to walk the walk.
During your first new client onboarding session, make sure you have all of your professional documents in one place to make the process as smooth as possible. You’re setting the standards and expectations for your professional relationship going forward.
A client intake form, for example, can take an onboarding meeting to the next level. Google Forms is a free and powerful resource for creating forms that can help you collect useful information from clients.
Cover the bases ahead of time with a survey that’ll help give you (and everyone on your team) an understanding of:
- Who the client is
- How they’ve approached a problem in the past
- What they expect from their efforts this time around
Familiarizing yourself with this information prior to any formal onboarding meeting will get you started on the right foot — allowing for ample time to dig deeper into the details and provide well-defined next steps.
Use your onboarding meeting to kick off the partnership and make sure to touch on:
- Introductions for relevant members of their team and yours, including who will be responsible for what
- Setting expectations and goals around performance for the next few months
- Getting access to social media accounts and other useful data that you’ll need to measure success (like Google Analytics)
Having a client intake form stashed away in a client’s file also makes for a great reference point later on in the event that an account is transitioned over to someone new. It’s similarly useful if you need to verify the validity of your deliverables based on initial discussions.
Social Media Analytics Reports Templates
Data is a buzzword for a reason. Most businesses aren’t content with investing in marketing services without some sort of tangible return. And that return is typically measured in cold, hard numbers.
Even if social media analytics reports weren’t discussed upfront in your social media management pitch, it never hurts to provide some unexpected added value. Especially if you’re trying to make a name for yourself in the field and retain more clients.
If a client likes what they see and wants further analysis, you might consider upselling more extensive strategic evaluations as the relationship strengthens.
With a tool like Social Report, sophisticated analytics are made simple with customizable dashboards, presentation-ready reports with white-label functionality, and powerful insights collated across a variety of channels — from Twitter to Reddit, Shopify to WordPress.
Bonus: Social Media Client Case Studies
When you’re first starting out, formal one-page case studies are probably not something you’ll have on hand for pitching to clients. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be thinking about building some out for the future.
With major client successes, it never hurts to ask for some sort of testimonial or recommendation — one that’s approved for advertising across your website and other professional channels. Then, lay out a page that includes the provided quote, a summary of the project, the problem you were hired to solve, your approach, and key results.
Here’s a straight-to-the-point case study example from Stepps:
The finished product will become a prime piece of social proof collateral for your website. It can also be sent along as a PDF when cold emailing potential prospects.
Final Thoughts: The Professional Documents & Process Documentation You Need to Work With Social Media Clients
Social media marketing isn’t dying but it certainly is evolving — which means if you’re going to work in this space, you have to be ready to evolve alongside it.
Portray the type of professional business you would trust to handle your own social channels with well-thought process documentation and other professional documents to back it up. It’s a seemingly small piece of the overall puzzle but one that can easily impact the success of your business when done right… or wrong.
Cross the reporting to do off your list with Social Report’s powerful suite of social media analytics tools. Start your free trial today.
Maddy Osman is an SEO Content Strategist who works with clients like AAA, Automatic, Kinsta, and BigCommerce. Her background in WordPress web design contributes to a well-rounded understanding of SEO and how to connect brands to relevant search prospects. Learn more about her process and experience on her website and read her latest articles on Twitter @MaddyOsman.