When collaborating with clients, challenges are inevitable. But with preparation, you can prevent potential miscommunication and conflict before they occur. In this edition of Sked Social’s SMM Chats (tips from social media managers on overcoming challenges), we sit down with Nell Casey – the Founder of copywriting and content marketing agency, Fete Creative. Nell shares the tools and tactics she uses when collaborating with clients. More specifically, how she uses these to overcome challenges with client collaboration. What’s your role in your agency? I spend most of my time copywriting, yet, my strength lies in strategy. A lot of what I do involves sitting down with my client and looking at the big picture of: What they’re trying to achieve How they’re trying to position themselves in the market The barriers to creating an online business are lower than ever before – which is amazing. But this means brands have to work harder to stand out, so my agency focuses on working with clients to: Find the tone of voice that’s going to convey their story Find the type of content that’s going to connect with their audience Create copy that’s going to make people buy their products Instagram for Business 101 Grab our ebook Instagram for Business to take your Instagram game up a notch! How do you begin the process of collaborating with clients? I sit down with them to learn about their business. They are experts of their product and know its benefits and features. I have a strategic mindset to identify: What their brand is about How we should speak to their audience to convey that story The words we’re going to use it to tell it How we’re going to connect with their customers Nell has a diverse range of clients including Solid State, a men’s cologne company. How do you manage your workday to keep creative? I like to block out time in the week where I’m focussed on a single client. I don’t like to switch between too many client tasks within the same day as it gets hard to get back in flow with the task at hand. I also like to change my environment and work from a co-working space every other day. If there’s a task that feels a little daunting, like it’s going to take hours – I just sit down and get it done. More often than less, it doesn’t end up taking as long as anticipated! I also enjoy going for walks and getting some fresh air, it’s a great way to give myself some space to let my mind wander. What tools do you use on a daily basis to make your job ‘easier’? Trello is my #1. I’ve been using it for years now and every client of mine does too. I have a board for every project, even personal projects too! I have the mentality that if it’s not on Trello, it doesn’t exist. It’s a great tool for breaking down tasks and collaborating with clients because they can track progress on tasks and add in comments too! I find this a more productive way to converse rather than going back and forth via email. When collaborating with clients, how many changes do you allow a client to make to submitted social media content? I offer two rounds of edits which is in my terms and conditions, but I find that sometimes not all clients need that. Once I submit content for approval they’ll suggest a change of a word they feel might not be the best fit. Other than that it’s pretty straightforward, but that’s because I’ve been proactive in: Finding their brand voice Knowing the words the brand would and wouldn’t use Knowing how the brand communicates online Having a tone of voice guide can save you lots of trouble down the track, especially when submitting content for approval. It’s one of my ‘non-negotiables’ before working with a client and means we’re both on the same page. It’s an independent document they’re aware of and have been involved in creating. Plus, it makes my life easier, for example, if I look at a piece of content and I’m second-guessing what I’ve written, I’ll refer to the tone of voice guide and am assured it ticks all the boxes. How do you digest client feedback to apply changes? It comes down to not being precious about your words because you’ve put a lot of work and creativity into them. You have to separate yourself from the content and think about how the client’s feedback is valid (because it is) and find a way to restructure it. Business owners know what’s best for their brand and they are paying experts to help them with that. You’ve got to look at things from a logical standpoint and what you’re trying to achieve. If there’s something that they don’t like, my process is to: Refer back to the goals we set at the start of the relationship Let them know if their feedback is or isn’t in line with what their goals are Organize another meeting to discuss a change in goals if necessary How do you share social media content with clients? My clients submit all visual content to me via Google Drive, so I’m working with images they’ve already approved. I then create a table in Google Docs and clients can edit it within the document. What challenges have you encountered in the collaboration process? There’s a big focus for brands to be on social media because that’s where a majority of people are. But when it comes to building a brand, it’s not the only place you should be putting your energy. A lot of clients focus on building an Instagram following at the expense of not focusing on the platforms they can control such as their mailing list and website. So this being said, I like to have a broad approach and help my clients focus on having a great website, words that sell and an email marketing strategy in place (in addition to great social media content). It’s about nurturing their relationship with their customers across multiple touchpoints. Ultimately the better rapport you have with a client, the easier it’ll be to navigate tricky conversations. Sked Social’s Collab feature makes client collaboration easier Simply invite them into your Sked Social account and notify your client when posts are ready for review! Instagram collaboration & approvals made easy Plan & schedule your client's Instagram posts, Stories, videos and more. Create a custom workflow for clients Add and review comments on each post Collaborate & manage client approvals Here are some tips to streamline your agency’s Instagram approval process. What are your tips for commencing a collaborative relationship with a client? You have to be the boss. A client is coming to you because they need a problem solved and a lot of the time they’re not looking for help with social media or email marketing alone. They’re looking for someone to lead that process and show them how it’s done. For example, when you go to the hairdressers, you don’t instruct them on how to cut/style hair, do you? You’re going to tell them the end goal of how you want your hair to look, you might even show them some photos as an example. They’ll then explain if what you’re seeking can or can’t be done and alternative suggestions followed by leading you to the sink. You trust that they know what they’re doing. You can guide clients by: Mapping out your process for them to see Making it clear in your terms and conditions (what you will and won’t do) Having an agreed timeline including when things need to be approved by so you can do your job What are your favourite brands to follow on social media? Go-To Skincare: Their tone of voice is amazing and all pieces of their content are on-brand. They’ve figured out how to create consistent content that feels warm and fuzzy every time you look at it. The Digital Picnic: They’ve built a great community on social media. The director and staff that run the business are wonderful human beings. Lack Of Color: They make beautiful hats and have stunning photography and content. They sell hats, but they’re selling an amazing lifestyle. What book are you reading and loving right now? ‘Company of One’ by Paul Jarvis. It’s about having an attitude of growth and focussing on serving customers and clients better. He’s a great writer, thinker and business person. What’s one of your favourite newsletters that you’re signed up to and what do you love about it? Smack Bang Designs: I admire what they’ve created with their brand. They’re a graphic design agency but they don’t talk about design that much. They share great tips on brand building and creating beautiful things. What’s your one piece of advice for social media managers? People are coming to you to solve a problem and if you can make them feel good about how you’re going to solve their problem, you’re halfway there. You may not be the best writer or best social media manager, but if you can do the following: Make them feel good about what you’re doing Gain their trust Create a great timeline Meet deadlines If you’re looking to carve out hours in your social media workflow while collaborating with clients, sign up for Sked’s 7-day trial. Our all-in-one Instagram scheduler allows you to automatically post images, carousels, Stories, videos and more. Tag locations, users and products and use our hashtag recommendation feature to save 5+ hours every week.