There is no doubt social media is here to stay. Anyone who still says that social is a flash in the pan (and yes, there are people are still saying it) must be living on a different planet. So now that social has crossed the chasm, do brands need a dedicated social media agency?
My answer, even if I am slightly biased, is unequivocally yes.
Brands need a social media AOR because today a brand is shaped more by what their consumers say than what the brand tells them. And because social media cannot be treated as an afterthought, it needs to be integrated into an overall marketing plan. We live in a social world. Consumers are looking for human connections with the brands they buy. Consumers want to be co-creators with brands. And consumers are looking closer at the role brands play in society.
Additionally, if you look at the perception gap between what brands think and what consumers think about the role of social media - the disconnect speaks volumes. This study was conducted by IBM and shows how far apart brands actually are in understanding what consumers are looking for out of a relationship with them.
The bottom line: This is the first time in history that Advertising is talking back. Which means brands (and their agencies) can't look at consumers the same way in social media as they do in other media. Not to mention, the growing importance and complexity of social media requires ongoing stewardship in a medium that is "always on."
So, here is 10 reasons why Brands Need a Social Media AOR:
- Social media is a specialty. It requires specific expertise and skill traditional agencies don’t have. You would not ask your media buyer to write your press release or your Publicist to write ad copy.
- Traditional marketing is about interruption. Social media is about invitation. It’s about a two-way dialogue. It’s about creating experiences. It takes a different mentality.
- You can’t adapt advertising messaging for social media. Advertising is about selling and telling. Social media is about storytelling, engagement and socialization.
- Social is about creating audiences and which is different than traditional “targeting” of consumers. It’s about thinking like a publisher, not a marketer.
- Developing content platforms are fundamentally different from ad messaging. Social media is like advertising in reverse. It would require traditional marketers to unlearn years of engrained behavior.
- If you build a community, you need to engage with your audience on an on-going basis. It’s a living breathing entity that needs nurturing. Traditional marketers are not trained and skilled understanding the dynamics of engagement.
- Social media content has to be created with distribution of content and syndication strategies in hand.
- Social impacts everything: from awareness to advocacy to sales and marketing to customer service.
- A dedicated social media agency has social media as part of their DNA. It’s not taking people who happen to be on Facebook and Twitter and dubbing them the new social media department.
- Social media needs to be scalable. While many agencies can handle social media campaigns, few can handle scalability.