Social media has changed the world of marketing forever. PR teams have the ability to connect with consumers in cyberspace like they never have before, between displaying relevant ads based on search metrics and jumping into a conversation on social media after a simple mention. One strategic move in the world of social media, and a company's name and brand could go viral.
But it's important for businesses to understand what it takes to get there. As a PR professional, it's not only your job to drive insights that lead clients to success, but also to set a clear, comprehensive plan on how to reach such goals. Stakeholders – whether it’s your CEO or a client – can wildly underestimate what it takes to reach these goals and may have a few wacky expectations along the way.
Understanding client expectations
Recently, LexisNexis and PR News sent out a survey to PR and communications professionals to get a better understanding of which social media outlets were most important to their clients, which social metrics matter most and more. To better understand client expectations, we asked: "What is the most outlandish/comical request you've received from a stakeholder, boss or client?" And these were some of the responses:
- "I want to go viral."
- "We want a viral video like The Ice Bucket Challenge."
- "I want a story about us on 60 Minutes."
- "I want my op-ed to be placed in The Wall Street Journal."
- "I want to trend."
Other entertaining responses included getting on television, maximizing Twitter follower growth and taking over the newsstand like Miley Cyrus.
What can PR professionals learn from this?
While these responses might seem strange and unrealistic, on a positive note it shows that your clients are paying attention to the digital world and how it can impact a career and business. If stakeholders you work with have similar expectations, sit down with them to set goals and create a detailed plan for achieving them. It's your job to be open and honest about how attainable their objectives are, and you may even consider the option to under-promise from the get-go, as suggested by Forbes contributor Annie Pace Scranton. It may help to preempt the conversation with an explanation of why goals like “going viral” are not realistic. Let your clients know that the only thing that's guaranteed is gaining constant access to you and full attention from you, which can amplify the success of every achievement that follows. This idea of over-delivering will make your client appreciate the hard work more, and the stress of meeting all of their wildest expectations will fade away.