Why Agencies Don't Get Social Media
Yesterday Brian Morrissey at AdWeek posted an article titled "Social Media: 'Agencies Don't Get It,' Survey Says." I'd post the link, but it's now only available to AdWeek subscribers. The gist of the story was that TNS Media Intelligence/Cymfony polled marketers across North America, France and the U.K. on how they were sizing up when it comes to social media. Part of the study was to gauge their agencies' abilities to shepherd them through the chaos that makes up social networking, and TNS concluded that "Agencies don't get it." The article went on to say that agencies talk a good game but they're severely lacking when it comes to implementation on a tactical level.
After reading the article, I felt like it opened up the conversation as to WHY agencies are perceived social media neophytes.
- Social networks weren’t designed to be a marketer’s playground, so everyone is still trying to figure out the fine line of being relevant to users but not invading their space in a corporate fashion.
- Many clients enter the interactive realm and want measured results with very focused ROI campaigns. While this works well when it comes to search and targeted ad units, it isn’t necessarily a slam dunk when it comes to social networks. I would argue that because of this reality there may be many agencies that don’t know much about social networks because they can’t justify to their clients how it would ever be profitable on a DR metric. If companies don’t want to spend branding dollars online then they will continue to have a tough time coming up with “successful” social networking campaigns.
- Agencies as a whole need to embrace social networking not from a corporate level, but from an individual level. This is what I believe Morrissey is speaking to. It’s tough to come up with ideas for MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc when you don’t manage and embrace your own page. I feel like the key to this as an interactive brand manager is to constantly try out new technologies so that we can speak on them from a personal experience level. I know that sometimes this might be considered a brand planner or strategist's realm of expertise, but this should be something that every discipline jumps into. The more collective knowledge we have on these networks and new technologies the better equipped we’ll be to make recommendations for or against such campaigns for our clients.
What do you think? - John Herrington
Photo courtesy of Mario Sundar