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Why your Agency can’t help you with Social Media…

Mostly I spend my time doing search marketing for companies, and the edges between what we do and social media are a bit blurry. We’re not alone in that like almost any company that’s doing anything that slightly overlaps with social media, we’ve been trying to get a piece of the pie.

Given the current financial climate, it makes even more sense to explore other ways make more money from your agency other than your traditional business. I’d like to think we’re different, but the sad news is for most companies their agency can’t really help them no matter what they set out to achieve.

They don’t know what they are doing

Social media marketing is new, so even the experts are still finding their feet. The problem is lots of people feel confident to deliver this work even if they don’t really have the foundation of skills or experience.

One of my best mate’s mum has just set up herself a Facebook profile that doesn’t qualify her to offer consultanncy on how to use social media to promote a business. Weirdly a lot of companies offering social media seem to think this level of experience is enough.

It won’t be good news for your client, they won’t get much value from your work, and you may ruin a healthy relationship you’ve built through doing what you’re good at.

Social comes from the inside

The steepest learning curve associated with social media marketing is that it’s not just something the marketing department or agency can ‘do’, it needs to be part of the fabric and personality of the company.

They have to want to be ‘friends’ with their customers, they have to encourage feedback no matter what the channel, and social media is just an easier way of doing this than the ways they might have done that in the past.

So you’ve got to be a pretty persuasive marketing company to change the structure and way your clients do business. If you don’t hold that much sway with the companies who pay your wages, the chances are you might struggle.
A good agency can help advocate these changes internally or find ways to communicate the changes to your customers, but the changes need to come from within.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

Sometimes a picture paints a thousand words, and Tom Fishburne does this superbly with this cartoon

We’ve all been there, if you have to get approval before making a tweet you’ve already spent too much time on the tweet to get any positive ROI.

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2 Comments
  • Sunny on October 5, 2009

    Good and very honest post. With SEO and PPC its measurable so if you say you are an expert well the proof is in the pudding. Whereas a ‘social media expert’, can make claims that they are experts yet there is no real way yet to easily and directly measure the outcome of such a strategy. Social media is not a silver bullet solution and should be used in conjuction with a good agency, who are switched on with regards to social media and can advise on how to adopt a multi channel strategy of SEO,PPC, social media. There are too many people out there claiming to be experts and think that a CIM qualification means something. If somebody claims to be a social media expert ask them to show you a direct example where say they have built up a community etc. themselves and used it to convert actual sales. Having worked at a big brand does not mean anything, if the marketer positions himself as a guru in the field, listen to people who have built successful businesses themselves using these techniques. Otherwise I would say to them “take £20,000 out on your credit card, or remortgage your house and if you’re such an expert, market you’re own product etc. and take all the profits (and become wealthy yourself)”. As an entrepreneur I am very sceptical of such people/ agencies. However the guys at AI digital know their stuff and do a podcast where they show you their in depth knowledge and they are in a measurable industry so they can’t hide. This is from a entrepreneur (keep up the good work AI digital).

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