The discussion you should be having is who should manage it. Should you attempt to do it in-house? Should your communications agency drive it. Your PR agency? Or your digital agency? Or your 16-year-old daughter?
Social media and integrated programs that have a large social component are a key focus for our agency, Gullan&Gullan, to the point that we have refined our structure and costing systems to accommodate the next wave of innovation.
Social media programs do not command the same pricing as larger advertising programs, but they have high value for marketers. In response to this, we have created Social Media specialists that understand social platforms, PR and our client's brands and marketing objectives. Our social media team manage all social-media channels for our clients that include constant monitoring, copywriting and certain online practices.
Social media also demands fast, inexpensive - and authentic - content different to traditional marketing communications. Production values are not as refined. The point of view has moved from corporate to sociable. It happens in real time and is ongoing. In many cases, this work doesn't require a creative brief or the scrutiny of a creative director. Social media content also requires ongoing production of cost effective video and audio that is syndicated across multiple channels and may have a short lifespan.
Social media programmes require writers comfortable with generating lots of content in a short time - unlike the traditional copywriter who is strong on concept, headlines and short punchy copy. Video and audio producers who can record, shoot and edit independently with a minimum amount of creative and administrative support are also vital suppliers. In addition, brands still require the input from a creative director, strategist, and strong account people that provide smart strategic direction based on brand-centric™ values and consumer insights.
The challenge with new digital strategies is maintaining your brand values. You're mistaken if you think you can apply everything you know about branding to social media. So much information about your brand and the behaviour of your target communities is visible online…and it's never static. Being brand-centric™ means providing the right space, information and experiences - aligned with both your brand values and your target communities. And then be vigilant in observing what happens next. The courageous brand-centric™ social media marketer will engage and interact with authenticity and a massive dash of speed. Important tips to remember when planning a social media programme
- Be clear about your objectives
- Be clear about your measurables
- Select the right suppliers and partners who understand your brand, can generate fresh content and are comfortable in the social media environment
- Strive to include a mobile component remembering that Facebook has over 100 million mobile users
- Remain brand-centric™ while letting go and enabling the community to take a life of its own
- Be actively involved and respond in real time all the time.
When selecting an agency to lead your social marketing program, be sure they have a good understanding of the methods, technology, and that they are devoted brand ambassadors with an in-depth understanding of your overall marketing and brand-centric™ plan. Best is an agency that integrates PR, above and below the line, media planning and online marketing as they will be well-looped with all brand activities and empowered to act with authenticity and immediacy.