Who should implement your social media strategy ? A PR agency ? An ad agency ? A digital agency ? The answer is any agency can launch your social media program and be the arms and legs of your brand but do you really want an agency to be the voice of your brand ?
A report by Forrester tells what many in tech have known for the past 10 years – that the ad agency is dead. Even if agencies hire more tech savvy people or purchase digital agencies they still are not as close to brand as those who work on the brand from within the company. Consumers don’t want to hear from agency people who are good at creative and positioning statements they want to talk to someone as a person, not as a brand salesperson.
Social media is the game changer – users, marketers, and advertisers are already starting to do their own advertising, lead generation, branding, polling and surveys using social media tools. The shift toward do-it-yourself is only going to increase. With the wide availability of do-it-yourself systems gone will be the days where you (or your company) will hire an agency to handle your digital advertising. The advertising (digital) will become part of the web department.
According to an online source:
A good example is McCann, it is a traditional ad agency that mixed a few technology-savvy people and cloaks itself as a digital agency. They really don’t understand or know tech – their real goal is to get into your company and bill you up the wazoo. I know so many people that were billed hundreds of thousands and they never saw any (not even a shred) of measurable benefit or evidence. Those companies would have been better off doing online advertising. Today only the stragglers in the technology industry use McCann.
So what is the role of the agency in social media? Well, they can certainly develop the creative (look & feel, videos, logos, games) that can be integrated within social media but when it comes to engaging consumers, that should be done by the brand, not by people in the middle.
A lot of agencies are going to say “ni” to this because when they talk about social media they see a big source of potential revenue. If you are using social media for investor relations or using your social media to broadcast messages (one-way conversation) you can have an agency execute the program but keep in mind ad and digital agencies are not prepared or used to talking to people as consumers via a one-on-one dialogue.
Managing a brand’s social media presence is a waste of time for agencies because it requires them to use a different set of skills and spend time cultivating communities and building relationships, which takes time and energy away from working with other clients. Managing a brand’s social media presence is a full-time job, not something that you can just allocate a few billable hours to a week.
Where can agencies really add value with social media ? They can do a competitive analysis for you, execute the creative look and feel, add the Wiki’s that can be integrated into your social media page and even help with the analytics but when all that is done someone within your company/brand has to be the voice that talks to consumers and say “here I am”.
It’s time for marketers to learn how to talk to consumers one on one and bring digital marketing capabilities in-house where to they belong.