Monthly Q&Artful: August '21

Getting paid, QR codes, and Instagram

I'm a Social Media Manager and have a potential client who wants to pay half of the rate I quoted for the first three months (for the same activities and hours of work), then increase to 3/4 of my rate if performance is impressive after three months, and then pay the full rate I quoted after six months if performance continues.

They haven't really defined what "impressive performance" is so curious to know how you would handle this or if you have previous experience with doing trial periods based on social media performance? How do you set expectations since organic growth from scratch can be kind of slow in the beginning?

After learning the hard way, I rarely negotiate a fee after the initial client consultation and proposal. My terms and conditions include a No Guarantee clause that is as follows:

“Any projections or predictions offered to the Client are based on estimates, assumptions and forecasts which may prove to be incorrect; and no assurance is given that actual results will correspond with results contemplated by the projections or predictions. Past success is not a guarantee of future results.”

Marketing is not sales, so it is a slippery slope to assume that going to market with a strong social media strategy is going to directly result in an increase in sales performance. So why should your fee be any different? This is why almost all established freelancers do not budge on service fees.

But some professionals can (and do) negotiate their fee to secure a new client. If you choose to do this, I would suggest that you do your best to control the conversation. Be careful not to put yourself into a situation where you could lose valuable time and money on a mistake of a client. If you’re willing to hedge your bets on performance, make sure every aspect of your compensation is in writing:

For example: how much of the creative process and digital strategy is in your hands versus the client? What are the timelines? What business outcomes will be measured for performance? What is the budget committed to social media outside of your fee (for paid campaigns and creating assets)? And what percentage of growth constitutes impressive performance?

This is a very common situation for freelancers to encounter—especially for those who don’t have many experiential proof-points or case studies to support the sales process. Good luck and remember: you have the option to walk away if you don’t like what you see.

Twice in the last week, I've had people suggest that I share QR codes in social media posts. Is this a new trend? I'm trying hard to justify why I wouldn't just share the link, instead of generating a code.

Yeah, no. Hard pass. How is anyone supposed to scan a QR code with their phone if it’s already on their screen? It doesn’t even make sense to do this in order to share a link with a friend since you could simply have them pass on the URL or offer some sort of e-invite.

That said, QR codes are extremely useful for print.

When you provide a QR code for a poster, print ad, or brochure, remember to include urchin tracking in the URL so that you can get a clearer picture about how your QR code performed. For example, www.yoursite.com/ could include ?utm_source=name_of_magazine&utm_medium=qr_code&utm_campaign=name_of_ad which will add some awesome tracking insights into your Google Analytics account.

What is the best way to collect survey forms on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter? Is there a tool my client can use without having users leave the app?

It’s 2021 and people are more protective about their personal information than ever. With all the recommendations below I suggest including a carrot on a stick such as running a contest or a raffle.

On Facebook and Instagram, your client can run a sponsored lead generation post to collect feedback. A lead generation form will pop up without a user ever leaving Facebook, so completion tends to be higher than an off-site landing page. The downside is that your client will need to invest a bit of money to launch the campaign. When you create the lead form, make sure to set the form to OPEN so that users who find the form from your organic sharing of the sponsored post will be reflected in the leads report.

On Twitter, I suggest an organic approach. Both Twitter and LinkedIn have great polling support, so your client could schedule each question daily to collect the information they’re looking for. Polling is less effective on Facebook due to reduced feature support, but you may have some luck through a YES/NO poll on Instagram Stories, and syndicate the story to the client’s Facebook Page Stories.

Is Reels data now included in overall analytics reporting for Instagram profiles?

It’s not in the Instagram Graph API documentation, so it’s not available for third-party analytics tools. Instagram’s reporting has been all borked up and confusing for the past year and a half, so I’d venture there’s limited-to-zero in-app reporting for it either.

What is the best way to find out who your Instagram competitors are?

Good old-fashioned research will be your best friend here. Search hashtags that are related to your business and take note of who is using them most frequently. Try to create a rudimentary hashtag web to see which ones are being used together commonly. Identify your industry’s influencers, key players, and rising stars.

I highly recommend checking out Sparktoro, which performs deep analysis of industries, search terms, and accounts in the blink of an eye. It has been incredibly helpful to me when I needed to get down and dirty into new industries very quickly. Sparktoro is co-founded by Rand Fishkin, the former CEO of Moz, and I can’t say enough nice things about him or the product.

Want to get a question answered? Email dave@artfuldave.com