Archive for September, 2009

The learning curve

It was interesting to read Will McInnes' latest post Social Media Market Hots Up – these guys are better placed than most to ponder on how the market has changed over the last few years.

For me it reminds me of web development 15 or so years ago.  Clients were largely unsophisticated in their buying of digital.  There was no such thing as a web strategy, very few digital marketing professionals and a big rush to get a website with no understanding of why, what it was for, or how it would help the business.  Fast forward and they are much clearer in their briefing, sophisticated in their understanding and therefore their expectation are quite rightly greater.

In social media land clients seem to be falling into one of three camps:

  1. Those who are ignoring it all in the hope it just goes away.
  2. Those who believe they should be 'doing' social media but who don't
    want to know that it's anything other than a Facebook
    page (the rest of it is too messy, tricky, hard to put in a box)
  3. Those who understand that social media is fundamentally changing what
    customers expect from and have taken steps to ensure that
    this feeds into all areas of their business (either because they are a young flexible company or because someone at
    board level actually gets it).

Right now I'd say that most are in camp 2 but give it a couple of years and, like web development, they will have moved up that curve and that will be a good thing for everyone.

In the meantime, this great post from Mike Arauz kind of sums up where I'm at.

And let's not forget that this approach is still very much out there….


A Slice of the Social Media Pie

There is so much chatter about who should deliver social media for their clients.  Pretty much every day I speak to agencies who are battling a landgrab and clients who are, well, frankly just confused. 

Econsultancy's online PR Industry Benchmarking report completed at the end of last year demonstrated that clients are unsure where this part of their comms strategy sits within their agency roster (and internally, but that's another blog post). 

51% of clients reported using a PR agency to deliver social media, while 29% used their search marketing agencies and 22% their web development agencies. 

This debate shows no sign of being resolved any time soon. If anything the waters are becoming more muddied.  Having worked as a freelancer with all three of these different types of agency, my honest response would be that PR agencies (or 'pure' social media agencies) are best placed to deliver social media engagement, they already inhabit a world of stories and conversations.  They understand about connecting with influencers and developing ideas designed to initiate debate.  They're also already plugged into the client with this remit. 

BUT the biggest irony is that, while PR agencies might be the most natural people to deliver social (with a few great exceptions) they are currently the least well equipped to deal with it.  Lots are catching up but an equal number are living in blissful ignorance.


Photo by Daniel Greene