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Dealing with a know it all client – Do you ride the storm out?

Posted by mandyf on February 24, 2012

Know it all clients are in every business, no one is immune to the person that is a self professed expert. In the social media world, know it all clients are about as common as steaming piles in a cow pasture in July. You try to dodge them, but every now and then you plant your foot squarely in the middle of one and then spend an eternity trying to scrape it off. A know it all client is the same in many ways. You have to scrape them off (break them back to basics) and then go on with business.

In social media, a number of clients begin believing they can do it all because they read an eBook or they think after awhile it is all too easy and they can do it better. Usually, they are wrong. The problem isn’t that they are dumb or don’t think you can do a good job, it is just that they think they can do better. They know their product or business better than you. They have 20 free minutes and figure they can network their pants off just as effectively as you do over the course of day. Maybe 1 in 10 can pull it off, but the other 9 leave a wake of destruction behind them that costs more to fix in time and money than just standing pat would.

For example, lets use the example of a person that wanted to launch product. He goes out and gets a small firm to handle the online presence for his product and company as neither was represented online yet. They spend a few months building a strong interactive community. Pre-sales have almost matched the first production run. People are loving all the new posts and interactive parts of the community. Everything looks great – until the client reads a spammy email stating that for $49.95 they can get the key to tens of thousands of twitter followers, thousands more Facebook fans than they ever dreamed possible and sales that soar. They are smart, but just as greedy and the greed wins out – they buy the eBook.

Next they start telling their SMM firm they need to do X and Y and do it like this because that is how the “real players” do it. “I heard STUVW is awesome – let’s do some of that!” “I heard MNOP was the next big thing – let’s do that!” You get the idea. But then, instead of leaving to their firm to do, they can’t wait and start doing it all on their own. This is how it all falls apart:

1. They get banned from sites for posting duplicate content and nothing but duplicate content or posting in a way that violates the site TOS. – – “But thee book said….”

2. Instead of getting tens of thousands of Twitter followers, they get a few thousand bots and people spamming out their own eBooks on how to build a twitter following for $49.95. The more of these followers that come on board, the fewer real followers that used to be very engaged that remain behind.

3. Facebook likes pour in like rain, but then they never come back and engage in a meaningful way. Everyday, dozens and dozens of posts spamming out other products have to be deleted. Between the spammy comments and the mess the page has become, no one engages anymore. All the time allotted for FB winds up going to keeping the page clean.

4. By jumping on every “next hot thing”, all the existing “functional things” get less attention. Less attention turns into neglect and neglect leads right into being useless.

5. Because the focus became numbers instead of engagement, conversions didn’t go up – if anything they went down.

After a month, maybe 6 weeks, Know it all client decides that his SMM firm knows nothing. “I read an eBook by HJKL and he has 1 million twitter followers and 500,000 Facebook fans and makes so much money he wipes his butt with it, he can’t be wrong! it is all proof he knows what he is doing!”

When it reaches that point what do you do? You get brutally honest. You sit know it all down and say ‘Look – we did this that and the other thing the last 6 weeks and these are the results we got.” When he is fully unimpressed by that, you then say “And you did this that and the other thing and this is what happened and why it happened.” You have to be brutally honest and in thins case, yes, tell the know it all that they were wrong. You have to tell them that so and so who wrote the eBook they now live by is a success – a success at convincing people that he is the king know it all they need to learn from – not a real expert on building engaged communities, just an expert on increasing numbers.

It is one of the hardest concepts to explain to many clients, especially the know it all, but it is true every time  — it is better to have 500 people that are actively interested in you and engaging with your content than it is to have 5,000 people who do nothing. Just because someone followed or clicked a like button does not unequivocally mean that they are actually interested in what you have to offer. It just means they clicked a button one time.

Getting this through is rarely if ever easy and sometimes proves impossible until an SMM campaign has gone scorched Earth. Maybe Know it all fires the firm and tries with another. maybe he listens to you and you take thee time to rebuild. Either way, it is one of the things you have to understand how to deal with before you take any client on. There are three paths to walk down you can choose from.

1. Release your client at the first sign of trouble. they let you do the job you were hired to do the way you were hired to do it or they do not.

2. You do what you can and try to ride it out.

3. You cave in, do what the customer wants and deal with their anger when it doesn’t work out the way the eBook told them it would.

It’s your choice what you do, but each carries a specific set of pros and cons. Weigh them carefully and decide what the dollar value is for your aggravation and your reputation – both will take hits if you go with #3 – that I can promise you.


One Response to “Dealing with a know it all client – Do you ride the storm out?”

  1. txwikinger said

    Reblogged this on txwikinger's blog.

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