As some of you know, I now work in social media PR advising clients on how to best practice relations with bloggers and other aspects of social media. Most of my clients are fab and get it. Some clients (or potential clients) are less so. Inspired by Jeffrey Zeldman’s 20 signs you don’t want that web design project, here’s 20 signs you don’t want that social media project. Some of these are from personal experience, others from war stories heard from others in the trade, and one or two I’ve just made up for comedic effect (but are utterly plausible):
- Client calls it an “internet blog”.
- Client has a “hilarious” viral they want you to “seed”, which turns out to be their latest TV ad on YouTube.
- Bonus points if the above is a ripoff of a famous existing meme.
- Client demands that the viral use Mr T, David Hasselhoff, or both.
- Client wants something edgy “like that suicide bomber viral” – but first subject to clearance by their legal department.
- “I don’t see why we need to pay you so much when we could just email all these bloggers a press release.”
- “This Tom Coates guy, can we get him on board? I heard he’s really popular.”
- Client admits to anonymously posting links to their site on a range of forums.
- Client insists that you anonymously post links to their site on a range of forums.
- Client panics over a random blogger’s negative post about them and orders you to get it taken down. Won’t take “sorry, it’s impossible” for an answer.
- Client says their new site is “really Web 2.0″ but it’s made entirely in Flash with no permalinks.
- Client enthuses about their new blog presence. Will there be comments? No.
- Client asks you to invite bloggers to an event, but to keep it quiet as “we don’t want any nutters turning up”.
- “I want this top of the charts on Digg”. Client makes fashion accessories for teenage girls.
- Client demands you delete all the negative criticism from the Wikipedia article about them.
- Every Tweet you post to client’s official Twitter stream has to be OK’ed by the brand manager first.
- Client says they’re sure the photoblog you’ve built for them is nice, but their corporate firewall has blocked Flickr.com and they can’t see it.
- Client refuses to budget for site moderation on their new UGC site, then is angrily surprised once B3ta discover it and submit lots of pictures of crudely drawn cocks.
- Client has spent a six-figure sum on a presence in Second Life.
- “We want our site to be as popular as, you know, Facebook.”
Any more horror stories (with names removed to protect the guilty, natch) are welcome in the comments…
Update: Thanks for all your suggestions! Of course, agencies are not totally innocent and can be as bad or even worse than clients in some ways. Tom has put together 21 signs I don’t want your online marketing pitch.