Social Media Freelancing: Essential Questions to Ask Your Client

Process and organization

Bella Foxwell

Bella Foxwell

Social Media Freelance: Essential Questions to Ask

In order to be efficient with your social medias, you need to target your clientele, here are some advices.

Aug 4, 2022
Update on
August 4, 2022
05 MIN.
Table of Contents

Before I work with any new client, I send them a detailed questionnaire to fill out. 

This helps me get up to speed with the client’s brand, their broader business objectives, who their ideal client is, and how much content they do (or don’t) have available. 

It’s an essential part of the onboarding process. One that sets the tone for our working relationship and gives me all the information necessary to create a strong social media strategy. 

But what exactly do I ask in the questionnaire? Great question!

Keep reading to find out some of the essential questions to include in your social media questionnaire. 

Why you should send a questionnaire

Just before we get to the questions, you might be wondering why a questionnaire? Why not just jump on a call and discuss these topics with your client?

The reason I love sending a questionnaire is because of the time it saves. As a social media freelancer, time is your most precious commodity. By sending a questionnaire you put the onus on your client to carve out 30-60 minutes to give you all the information you need in one go. This beats exchanging emails back and forth or sitting on a lengthy Zoom call to get the answers. 

It also puts you in the best possible position to create and deliver a winning social media strategy that proves your worth. By understanding their business objectives and how highly they value social media, you can determine what results your client is looking for.

Now, onto the questions. And no - you don’t have to include every single one in your questionnaire. Pick and choose the ones that are most relevant for your client!

Get to know the brand

First things first, you want to get the inside scoop on your client’s brand. 

Who are their competitors and what makes them different? What is it about the brand that customers value so much?

These sorts of fundamental questions inform the entire social media strategy. They’re how I like to begin every questionnaire:

  1. What makes your products/services unique?
  2. What separates your product or service from direct competitors?
  3. Who are your competitors?
  4. Why do your clients (or customers, users, members) choose you?

The better you understand the brand’s position in the market, the easier it will be for you to develop a strategy that sets it apart from the competition.

Social media and business goals

Understanding your client’s broader business objectives will help you develop a social media strategy that meets their expectations. 

It’s important to find out their business objectives (not just their social media objectives) because there may be a disconnect between the two. 

Their social media goal might be more followers, but their business objective for this quarter is to grow their email list ahead of a product launch. While growing their following might be one part of your strategy, building their email list and converting followers into subscribers will be your primary focus. 

So what sorts of questions will help you get clear on their goals?

  1. What are your top 3 goals in business in the next 6 months?
  2. What are your top 3 goals on Instagram in the next 6 months (besides growing followers)? 
  3. How will you know you’ve achieved those goals?
  4. What’s the biggest barrier to your success on social media?
  5. How does social media fit into your growth plan?
  6. How do you define success for each social media channel?

As you can see, I like to ask my clients to be more specific than simply saying: ‘grow followers’.

Everyone wants more followers. But you and I both know that more followers doesn’t guarantee success.

It’s also important to understand if your client would be most satisfied with raising awareness, increasing engagement, generating conversions or a combination of all three. It’s usually the latter.

One additional question you could throw in there would be:

  1. What would social media success look like to you one year from today?

This gives you something to work towards, but it also allows you to manage expectations. 

There might be clients that have wildly optimistic goals for their brand. For example, hitting 100k followers in one year or 20x-ing their sales through Instagram.

By knowing exactly what your client expects, you can show them just how realistic (or not) their ambitions are and what results they’re most likely to achieve. 

Channel strategy

Your client might be brand new to social media or they might already be present on a few platforms.

The purpose of this section of the questionnaire is to learn more about their social media strategy to date, analyse any existing accounts, and flag potential opportunities. 

For example, if your client isn’t on Instagram and you know they’d perform well there, asking the right questions could help you pitch additional services (e.g. Instagram management). 

Here are some questions I’d include in my social media questionnaire:

  1. What social media platforms are you currently using? Please include handles.
  2. Have you considered expanding to any others? If so, which ones and why?

If you’re working with a solopreneur/small business owner or you’re supporting with just 1 or 2 channels, I’d also include these questions:

  1. How are you struggling with [social media platform] at the moment?
  2. What have you tried in the past to help with social media marketing that a) has worked and b) hasn't worked for you?
  3. What do you think are your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to [social media platform]?

This context will help you devise a strategy (and ways of working) that play to your client’s strengths and help them overcome any struggles they’ve come up against in the past. 

Ideal customer

This section is hugely important as it allows you to understand who your client is trying to reach on social media. 

In addition to the questions below, I always ask my clients if they have any additional avatar research they can provide me (in the form of interviews or a deck). Many of them don’t, but it’s always worth asking!

  1. Describe your ideal customer. Who are they?
  2. What social platforms do they use?
  3. What issues matter to them?
  4. How does your brand engage them?
  5. Can you share 3-5 profiles/handles of past/existing customers?
  6. Who else (brands/celebrities/people) does your audience engage with?

Make sure your client doesn’t only give you demographic information - e.g. age, location, and gender - because this level of detail is enough to create a strong social media strategy.

One final question to add if you’re working with a small brand/solopreneur or support with just 1 or 2 channels is this:

  1. Outline the journey from someone finding you on [social media platform] to booking your service(s). Please include the different touch points (e.g. calls / emails / DMs / etc.).

This question is particularly useful if your client is trying to generate more conversions/sales through social media.

It helps you understand how their existing sales funnel works and what improvements can be made to ensure this is as streamlined as possible. 

Content

You’ve made it to my favourite section - the content section! 

By asking the following questions you’ll get a good overview of all the assets you have available and what additional photos/videos/graphics need to be created. 

  1. What existing assets do you have available for content creation? Please include images/videos/graphics and links to blog posts/press releases. 
  2. Do you have a content creation workflow? If so, please describe this (from idea to publication)
  3. What is your approval process?
  4. What type of content do you want to create for your audience? 
  5. What upcoming events/holidays do you want to observe?
  6. Do you have key messaging you’d like shared on social media? Please link to brand materials if applicable. 
  7. Do you have tone of voice guidelines that I should adhere to? 
  8. Any language/copy no-no’s that I should be aware of? 

Depending on what type of social media services you’re offering, you may want to add questions like: “Will you be able to provide physical products for TikTok video creation?”.

One final content question I like to ask gives me an understanding of my client’s expectations and what they consider great content:

  1. Who do you admire on Instagram for the way they market their business? Please include handles & any (brief) info as to why. (They don't have to be competitors).

Analytics to date

The reason I ask about past analytics is because it allows me to understand what has and hasn’t been working on social media to date.

Nine times out of 10 my client usually hasn’t checked their insights in months, so it’s an enlightening exercise for them as well as for me.

As I’m an Instagram specialist, I always ask for my client’s top 3 posts for the following metrics from the last 3 months: saves, comments, website taps, and follows. In total that gives me 12 Instagram posts to analyse.

I look at the content of the image or video and the caption to understand why it may have worked so well and repurpose these ideas in future content. There’s no need to be 100% original all of the time. Particularly when saves, comments, follows, and website taps are an audience’s way of saying: I love this! I want more where that came from!

As for your questionnaire, you could ask your client the following question:

  1. Could you share your social media reports (per channel) from the last 3 months?

Whether they have charts, graphs or written insights, the more data you can get the better.

Ways of working

Understanding how your client prefers to work with suppliers is key to keeping them happy. 

And if you’ve ever had to work with a demanding client who didn’t seem to respect your boundaries or understand why you weren’t available to drop everything for them at a moment’s notice… 

… it’s probably because you didn’t have a conversation about expectations at the start of your relationship. 

So, to ensure you’re both on the same page from the get-go consider asking the following questions:

  1. Who will I be working with in your organisation?
  2. What do you expect from me as your social media manager?
  3. Is there anyone managing your social media platforms at the moment?
  4. How can I receive access to your social media platforms?
  5. How hands on (or off) will you be with content creation/engagement?
  6. How often would you like to receive a report from me? 

By asking these questions, you’ll know immediately if your client has unreasonable expectations.

That way you can have a discussion about what you do/don’t offer as part of your services and draw up an agreement that satisfies you both. 

Final question

Once the more logistical questions are out of the way, I like to end the social media questionnaire with a question that gets the client excited about working together.

  1. Anything else you think I should know to make this Instagram marketing strategy as effective as possible (this includes any content 'no-nos' or 'I really do want to do [this specific thing!]?

Conclusion

A social media questionnaire makes my job as a social media freelancer so much more effective. The more detailed you can make yours, the easier it will be to plan and prepare a successful social media strategy.

Pick and mix from the questions above to build a questionnaire for your clients. The answers they give will provide insight into their goals, ideal customer, performance to date, existing content (and any gaps they have), and most importantly, their expectations and preferred ways of working.

If this is your first social media questionnaire, don’t worry if it takes a little longer to put together. This is an iterative process and one you’ll be so thankful you put in place when it gives you all the information you need from your client in one go.

Bella Foxwell

Bella Foxwell

Copywriter @Iconosquare

Hey! I'm Bella. Super curious about any new feature released on social media platforms. I do have a preference for Instagram, even though each platform has its specificity ;)

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