The Summary

For an Industry with such growth and demand, the Social Media Industry is still plagued with Cowboys, bad actors  and dodgy dealings. In todays sermon Lynsey outlines 4 of the top offending practices still being used by sh**ty social media marketers and agencies – are you guilty of any of these?

The Episode

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The Transcript


So welcome back to the gospel of social media and it’s so lonely today. This is the first podcast I have recorded on my own in a very long time. So I’ve had so many amazing guests who’ve come in and agreed to do interviews with us. But today I feel it’s super important that we just talk a little bit more about this topic, and that is the social media industry. Now don’t get me wrong. I am a very, I’m an advocate for this industry. I believe we do a very important role in the way that we facilitate and help businesses really tackle platforms and take charge of their marketing and actually help businesses grow in a really helpful and authentic way. So I’m not against the social media industry on a whole. I just think there’s some really bad practices. And the problem with the Cowboys out there is that they make it so, so much harder for the rest of us and the definitely making it harder for clients.


And there’s just lots of shitty practices out there. So I’m just going to kind of call. I’m not going to name and shame. Um, but I’m definitely gonna call that some sort of really funky kind of practices is still going on widespread across the social media industry. And this is my plea, my appeal. We really need to be doing some of these things better. So I’m just going to jump in. I’ve only got four for you today, but I think they’re all still pretty important. I have spoken to so many clients I’ve consulted with so many people over the last couple of weeks about how they’re working with their current social media agency. And one of the questions I asked them is what, on the first question I ask them, well, what kind of results are you getting? And the clients turn around and tell me that they simply don’t know.


I’m like, what,


How, how do you not know what results you’re getting? Surely you’re getting the feedback and saying, yes, how can you not know what your results are? They’re like, no, well, I get this report from them, but I don’t really understand how to read it. And when I ask them questions, they just tell me more kind of data and stuff on the report, but I don’t really understand what’s going on. And so shitty practice. Number one, from social media agencies, managers, people everywhere is reporting on data and not reporting on results for the client. So I’ve seen a lot of agencies do this. They build these incredible looking flashy looking reports. Now obviously they put an all these metrics and we’ve got like over 200 metrics from anyone advert at any time that we could potentially report on. So there is no shortage of data in the social media world that we can be sharing with our clients.


However, does it, without context is meaningless. So unless we actually understand what that data is doing and what the impacts the business are, the dots is pretty meaningless. And unfortunately lots of agencies get super focused on the data and what they’re showing the clients, the clicks and the click through rates and the percentage and the uplift and all this stuff, but not drilling it back to a language that they understand. I’ve also seen a lot of agencies doing this now. I love a good old fashioned Google data studio dashboard. Oh, who doesn’t love one. So it’s a great way of being able to show your clients exactly what’s happening in their accounts. In real time, you can make them super user friendly. They could look super sexy, um, and you can make a data studio dashboard look great. And once you’ve got it set up and you’ve got a formula for doing it, it’s so easy to just give a client access to it and they can literally see their data at any time.


Here’s the issue. The client is not paying you to see their data. The client is paying for you to interpret the data and make recommendations on what your seeing. So, unfortunately, again, a lot of agencies just falling down at this part of reporting on everything, but not giving it context, not giving it. You know, this is what we see. This is what it actually means for you. And here are the recommendations and the next steps or actions we need to take in order to get you to your result. So when we talk to clients about, you know, are you getting results? Agencies should be speaking in results, focus, languages, clients don’t care about their click through, right? If their goal was to get more leads, talk to them about how many more leads they got. If their click through rate is awful, then you can explain to them and say, Hey, look, we don’t feel that the campaign is working for you.


When we look at something called a click through rate, what we’re seeing is the ads you’re going at there, but nobody’s really engaging with them. So here’s what we think we’re going to need to do or change for you in order to get you more leads, just telling a client that their click through rate is down, or, you know, it’s not great. Doesn’t give them context. So remember clients don’t pay for data. They pay for the interpretation and recommendation from the data. So it’s not that agencies aren’t reporting and you know, social media are reporting. It’s just, they’re not reporting in the right metrics. Now, a lot of times when there’s, it takes me on to my second point, because I, myself, when I was working for a very large brand experienced exactly this, and it’s the agencies and social media managers, they get focused on the wrong goal.


We get super excited about the data. We get super excited in the campaigns. We’re looking at clicks, conversion rates, uplifts, you know, all of these things watch times. We really, and that’s what we base our interactions. And our next moves on is we have to understand and interpret the data that we see very, very quickly, but unfortunately we can get lost in that and not look at the big picture. And the big picture is what is the bottom line to the client in the context that they’re going to understand. I remember running a campaign or working with an agency to run a campaign targeting, you know, different placements and, you know, Spotify. And we were doing some, you know, programmatic buying and all of these things. They came in and they were super glowing and super happy about this campaign, which we’d spent about 10 grand on.


And they got all these amazing results. And we had not generated a single sale. And the campaign brief was to increase sales. So they came back in and they gave us this big, she razzle dazzle show and report about all of these things. But at no point throughout the campaign, had any of them stopped and said, how are sales going? So not being focused on the right thing. Now, obviously, as you know, working in social media, we need to be very close and very focused on the data that says a site. That’s how we make our decisions, but not stepping back and looking at the full picture and going, how is this actually impacting the bottom line for our client? How is this actually converting when it’s there? We hand them a hundred leads this month. How many of them did their sales team actually convert Debra, even spoken to their sales team and also about the quality of the lead or those things.


So second book, there is agencies being very good at what they do, but not good at translating it and talking about it with their clients and getting focused on the same goals as their clients are focused on. Um, so that, you know, that’s one of the fundamentals we see when we see relationships between clients and agencies break down and we do a lot of consulting with the agencies and we do a lot of consulting with clients in this space. And the biggest thing is that the agency thinks you’re doing a great job and they may be, but they’re not contextualizing that enough for the client to understand the job that they’re actually doing. And that the agency’s not putting into a language, which talks to the client about how it’s affecting the bottom line. So everybody being super results focused and talking in a language that the client can understand.


And that’s as a little aside on this, cause please don’t think I’m anti the social media agent industry. I love this industry. This is my job. This is my business. This is my baby. This is what I do, but can we stop using marketing jargon in meetings with clients like you don’t go to your doctor and them just explain to you in the Latin terminology, what is wrong with your body? Despite the fact they had to learn all of the laughing terminology as to what’s wrong with you. They break it down into layman’s terms. And I don’t know why the marketing industry is so, so bad at doing this. We just go in and assume that people understand what we’re talking about in terms of click throughs and conversions and CPMs and all this stuff. And really a lot of people do sure about me, try using some marketing speak the next time you’re having dinner with some friends and see how quickly that conversation lasts.


All right. Um, the thing that I really think is a shitty practice and yeah, this is, this is contentious, but is this is a widespread practice within the industry. And this is the practice of taking a percentage of advert spend as a commission for the agency. I don’t believe this is an ethical practice. And let me tell you why now there’s nothing wrong with charging your client on a tiered basis on what they spend. If the expectation for that client is that you’re going to manage, you know, a bigger volume of campaigns for them, or there’s going to be much more intricate campaigns, much more intricate funnels because they’ve got more money to spend. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with tearing up your services because they’re going to need a lot more time or a lot more attention, but just putting this blanket, well, we’re going to take 10% or 20% of your ad spend doesn’t make for a good relationship.


If somebody is benefiting commercially of the advice they give you, they’re not likely to give you impartial advice. So every time a client turns their agency is like, what should we do to improve the campaign’s performance? The agency is always incentivized to say, spend more because they receive a higher commission from the agency side of things, whether you’re building a campaign to spend $500 over a month, or you’re building a campaign to spend $50,000 over a month, if that campaign is a similar structure and there isn’t, you know, you know, a hundred extra ad sets or these things, if you’re literally just managing that spend, that takes the exact same amount of time. So why are we in a practice of taking a clipping off the top of that? I don’t believe it’s an ethical practice. I don’t believe it’s geared in the client’s favor and I don’t believe we can actually justify taking a percentage of ad spend if the percentage of workload is not there.


Now, obviously if the workload is much more intense and there’s more iterations and campaigns and things for that 50,000, yup. You absolutely should get paid what you’re worth. I’m not against putting a cost to our services, but just taking a percentage for the sake of it, because we’ve always done it that way is not to my mind an ethical practice. And it will always always skew the advice that you’re going to get from an agency, or it’s going to make it harder to trust the advice that you’re going to get when there’s a commercial benefit to you, spending more, you may need to spend more, but you want that advice to be impartial. And then the other side of the line, last thing that I’ve seen again and again, in terms of, and this is a little bit more in agency lamps, um, just the burn through like putting young, I don’t want to just say interns, but putting newer or more or less experienced members of the team in charge of accounts and just overworking them and just absolutely piling on the number of accounts a client has to manage and not really offering enough support and enough training to our juniors and our entry level marketers so that they actually get excited about being in the industry and working there is still this horrible culture.


It’s Harlem practices, just your guess what, you’re the account manager or you’re going to be the account coordinator or the social coordinator or whatever your, your job title is. You’re going to get work like a dog, and you’re going to manage all these accounts. You’re going to do this and it just, or you, we’re just going to assume you can do all of this stuff. And we’re going to throw you in a role and we’re not going to invest into your training or into your further education. And that’s incredibly challenging. And unfortunately it has that knock on effect as well, where we look at clients accounts with horrible looking at campaigns like old school, shitty practices, you know, way too many ads sets way too few budget, not spending things, not optimizing, not testing ads, not doing that. And you have to look at and go, is that ignorance on behalf of the person who set it up or have they simply not been given enough training and enough support to be able to do their job effectively?


The way that we advertise, the way that we use these platforms, the services that are available, the way the algorithms move, the way that these things, you know, change these things are constantly in a state of flux and movement. The way we build campaigns now is different than the way we built campaigns potentially two, three years ago. So if you’re not investing in your team and in the people coming into your business and offering that training or offering that upskilling, all we do is we set them up for failure, but we also burn a lot of clients. And when a client’s been burnt once by a previous agency, and I’m sure all social media managers and agency people and guys out there, if you’re listening, you know, you’ve had to recover or look at an account where a previous agency or freelancer or a social media manager worked in it, and you’re looking at it going, what the fuck were they thinking?


And you understand how that client got burnt and why they’re not happy with their results. And unfortunately the more we burn clients, the more they’re getting pushed, the more, they’re not happy with their results, the less trusting they are of this industry. And then the harder they are to manage, there’s so much less forgiving. If it could take us three months of consistent work and consistent testing to really optimize a client’s accounts. However, if after the first month, they’re not seeing the results that they expected, and they’ve been burnt by a couple of agencies before that client becomes incredibly challenging to manage, because they’ve simply just got that, that sector of mistrust. And a lot of that starts from how we actually bring people into the industry and the training and the support that we offer them to modernize and develop their own best practice so that we’re not burning through the clients.


So that’s kind of my little ranch today, guys, I, as I say, I’m not doing this because I’m down on agencies. I think, you know, there’s so many businesses out there that need our help. So it’s not about being a freelancer. It’s not about being a one man band. It’s not about working in a big agency or a little agency. There’s so many clients, there are so many people that need our help. It’s about us having the owners to do this job better. And to actually start really looking at some of these practices and going, that’s not the right way to do things, or, you know, we could be doing these things better. We could be promoting this industry better. We could be getting a better rap and a better reputation, you know, than we currently do right now just by changing some of the practices.


So then yeah, guys, that’s my little sermon day on shitty practices that I still see agencies and marketing companies do feel free to send me a PM, a D M sing. Let me know if you’ve got, I’m just interested. Like I want, I won’t name and shame, but I’m super interested to know if you have any sort of like horror stories from agency land as well. I think that could be definitely interesting. Maybe I’ll come. Maybe you can get interviewed and jump on the podcast. And obviously we won’t name anybody for legal reasons, but that could be super fun. All right. I will talk to you again. We’ve got another amazing series coming up soon on the podcast and we obviously have more guests and very knowledgeable people to come and share with you. I will be back with you next week until then be good.

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