Social media fragmentation, the rise of TikTok and social media’s expedited pivot to video has upped the ante for client expectations. Agency partners in public relations and social media say they’re feeling the impact as clients are increasingly asking for more content, feeding platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels in hopes for a viral moment.
The surge in workload has pushed one social media marketing entrepreneur to remove social media management service offerings to focus on content creation. In this latest edition of our Confessions series, in which we exchange anonymity for candor, we hear from that social media entrepreneur about client expectations in the fast-paced, ever-changing social media landscape.
This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.
As a content creator and social media strategist, what’s your experience in today’s current digital landscape?
One thing I’ve noticed, for a change, [is] clients don’t necessarily understand what it takes to get the results that we do. They’ll drop a lot of ideas on you at once, or they have a lot of different ideas that they want to do at once, but not necessarily know that it takes a lot to execute it. Then they want you to get it out very timely. This is a process. Sometimes, the process seems a little rushed now because of how fast paced everything is happening — new features and everyone wants to keep up with everybody else. It just seems like people don’t necessarily appreciate the process anymore when it comes to social media experts.
So there’s pressure on you to put out good content fast? How does that impact the way you work?
It definitely does. My agency recently had 12 clients at once. That was a hard thing to maneuver, even now, because of how burnt out I felt in dealing with that. I literally started changing my business activity. I used to say that we specialized in social media management and content creation. Now, I’m saying that we specialize in just content creation.
Why did you do that?
I was making 30 posts a month for my clients. When I got a little bit more experience, I changed my lowest [service] package to 15 posts a month and a few Reels a week. Now, you have to create Reels. It’s just videos. Now, we have to force the clients to get that content. Before, it was just me making the content. I didn’t necessarily need them. But now, I need those Day in the Life videos. I need you to show your expertise, go live and collaborate with others. You have to do these different things now to thrive on these different platforms. [But] they’re busy too. That’s why they hired me. So that has definitely become a struggle within itself too — just being able to connect with my clients for them to get me the content that I need.
What social media platforms are taking up the most of your time and energy?
Instagram, definitely. TikTok, I see as the least amount of effort. With all of my clients, we’re able to have fun on TikTok. But with Instagram, everything has to be so technical because some of my clients have different features that some of my other clients don’t. If a client sees something, they’re like, “I want that. Can I do something like that?” And it’s like, “You don’t even have that feature [available on your account].” Then they feel upset and we have to manage expectations. [Clients asked for more] when Reels came out. When video content literally took over, because everybody wanted to be seen. When Reels dropped, that’s the only way people saw people’s content. [It] was through video content.
You said Instagram Reels is a heavier lift for you, in terms of content production than TikTok. Why?
Everybody wants to be perfect on Instagram. TikTok thrives off of authenticity. You can literally do a video of you in bed, talking about whatever and it will blow up because people love you, relate to you… As far as Instagram, you may not see a post for three days that somebody posted. Or you may not see somebody’s story because Instagram is only showing 10% of their followers’ posts. There’s so many technical things with Instagram now that’s just drawing people away.