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14 Client Red Flags Every Social Media Manager Should Be Aware Of

As a social media manager, you will undoubtedly come across clients who are difficult to work with. It is important to be able to identify these client red flags early on in the relationship so that you can decide if it is worth your time and energy to continue working with them.

In this blog post, we will discuss 14 client red flags that every social media manager should be aware of!

client red flags for social media managers
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Client Red Flags Every Social Media Manager Should Be Aware Of

We’ve all had bad experiences with clients who aren’t a good fit. Maybe they’re always changing their mind, or maybe they’re never happy with the work you deliver no matter how hard you try.

Whatever the case may be, it’s important to be able to identify these red flags early on in the relationship so that you can decide if it is worth your time and energy to continue working with them.

Now you might be wondering – How do you identify a bad client?

If you’re a social media manager, pay attention to these 14 client red flags:

– The client is asking for free samples

This is one of the most common client warning signs for social media managers. If a client is asking for free samples of your work, it’s likely that they are not willing to pay for the full scope of your services.

They may be hoping that you will do a great job and then they’ll hire you for future projects, but this is not always the case. It’s important to set expectations with clients from the beginning and make sure they are aware that you will not be providing free services.

Your portfolio is a reflection of your competence and previous working relationships with other customers.

– The client is constantly changing their mind

If a client is constantly changing their mind about what they want, it can be very frustrating and difficult to work with them.

It’s important to try to get as much information from the client upfront so that you can avoid this issue.

If the client is unsure of what they want, ask them to provide you with some examples of other brands or websites that they like. This will give you a better idea of their vision and help you to create something that they will be happy with.

– The client is never happy with your work

No matter how hard you try, some clients will never be happy with your work. This can be very frustrating and demotivating, so it’s important to try to avoid these types of clients if possible. If you do find yourself in this situation, it’s important to set clear boundaries and expectations with the client so that they are aware of what is realistic and what is not.

– The client is always late with payments

This is a huge red flag for social media managers. If a client is constantly late with their payments, it’s likely that they will not be able to keep up with your invoices in the future. This can cause financial problems for you and your business, so it’s important to avoid these types of clients.

– The client is demanding but is difficult to communicate with and/or is often unavailable.

Some clients are very demanding but never available to answer questions or provide feedback. This can make it difficult to get work done and can be very frustrating.

If a client is not responsive to your communication, it can be very difficult to work with them. It’s important to set clear expectations with the client from the beginning so that they are aware of your communication style.

– The client doesn’t respect your time

Some clients don’t seem to respect your time or appreciate the work that you do. They may be constantly sending you messages outside of working hours or expecting you to be available 24/ hours a day. This is not realistic or sustainable, so it’s important to set boundaries with these clients.

– The client is disrespectful or rude

If a client is disrespectful or rude, it’s likely that they will not be easy to work with. It’s important to set boundaries with these clients and make sure that they are aware of your professional standards.

– The client is always trying to get you to do more work for less money

This is a common red flag for social media managers. If a client is constantly trying to get you to do more work for less money, it’s likely that they are not valuing your time or expertise. It’s important to be firm with these clients and make sure that they are aware of your rates.

– The client is trying to micromanage your work

If a client is trying to micromanage your work, it’s likely that they don’t trust you or your abilities. They’re restricting your creativity, not to mention wasting your time by forcing you to complete pointless actions. Yes, you’ll need client involvement, but they don’t have to watch your every move.

– The client regularly misses deadlines or changes their deadlines without notice

If a client regularly misses deadlines or changes their deadlines without notice, it can be very difficult to work with them. This can cause problems for you and your business, so it’s important to try to avoid these types of clients.

– The client expects unlimited revisions

Some clients expect unlimited revisions, which is not realistic or sustainable. It’s important to set clear expectations with the client from the beginning so that they are aware of your revision policy. Maintain a standard amount of revisions for each job and the extra cost for any beyond that.

– The client has unrealistic expectations

If a client has unrealistic expectations, it can be difficult to meet their needs. It’s important to try to get as much information from the client upfront so that you can manage their expectations.

-The client refuses to sign a contract

If a client refuses to sign a contract, it’s likely that they are not serious about the work or they don’t trust you. It’s important to have a contract in place so that both parties are protected.If the client is unwilling, you should consider walking away.

– The client compares you to others

When a client compares you to others in order to justify their own actions or to make you feel less confident it’s time to have a talk. If they continue after you’ve had that talk, it might be time to walk away from the project or client.

The client might say things like “I had another social media manager who did this for me” or “my last SMM was able to do this much better.” This is not only unprofessional but also hurtful. It’s important to be confident in your abilities and set clear boundaries with these clients.

Related: How to Become a Freelance Social Media Manager

Related: Social Media Manager Onboarding Process – What You Need to Succeed

How Can Social Media Managers Stay Ahead Of The Curve When It Comes to Client Red Flags?

Keep an eye out for these client red flags and trust your gut. If you feel like something is off, it’s probably best to walk away. Better to lose a client than to deal with the headache of working with someone who is difficult or disrespectful.

When in doubt, always go with your gut feeling—it’s usually right. If you have a client that is setting off alarm bells, trust your instincts and walk away. It’s not worth the headache or the hassle to try to work with a difficult client. Better to lose one client than to deal with the drama of a bad client.

Related: How to Get Clients as a Social Media Manager – Tips and Strategy

How to Handle a Client Red Flag Situation

So now, how do you deal with shady clients?

If you find yourself in a client red flag situation, the best thing to do is to try to resolve the issue directly with the client.

If that doesn’t work, you can always walk away from the project or client. Don’t make this procedure complicated, just tell your client that you’re not a good fit and move on.

If the bad client pays you well, sometimes we like to entertain the idea of continuing for the sake of our bank account.

It may work for a while, but one of two things will probably happen:

  1. You will become immune to this client’s quirks and learn to accept whatever curveballs they toss your way.
  2. Like a burning match, you reach your breaking point and burn out.

If you can handle a difficult client and still sleep well at night, go ahead and continue… But if you believe you may fit into the second category, it’s time to move on.

Terrible clients are not only a pain in the butt for your company, but they’re also bad for your health.

If you want to make sure there are clear expectations and boundaries between you and your client already from the beginning I highly recommend that you pick up our Social Media Manager Toolkit. It will help you clarify the rules so there are no misunderstandings.

social media manager starter kit

Make Sure You’re Not Working With a Red Flag Client

Keep these client red flags in mind so that you can stay safe. If you’re seeing any of these signs, it may be time to move on from the client.

While it’s not always possible to avoid difficult clients, being aware of these red flags can help you make the best decision for your business.

As you get more experienced, sniffing out potential red flag clients and dealing with them becomes easier.

red flag clients

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