What It Takes To Be A Social Media Agency?
We have been covering the thinking of Mullen’s Edward Boches quite often in this newsletter. And here are two posts that are actually one. On what it takes to be a social media agency. We think the simple answer is that you have to be three things. A traditional creative agency who understands brands and branding, a media agency who understands the media side of business, specially new media bits, and finally be a software company who is able to build small, but good looking applications that can work on the web, on phones and elsewhere. Edward (as corrected by the great man himself, see comments) however has a more specific list of 14. And it curiously starts with the more complex skills. Understanding and using professional listening tools: There is a new generation of companies like Radian6 who have built platforms for companies to hear and make sense of what consumers are saying about their brands and services. A social media agency will need to understand how this game is played. Presence Engineering. A bit jargony this one, is the ability to go into social media spaces like Facebook and Orkut and create ways to engage with people who are spending time here. Content creation. While agencies have been creating TV commercials and ads for over a century, there is a need to create new kinds of content that are not brand messages. Stuff that users will willingly access and pass around. New social agencies need to be bit PR companies as well. They need to have relationships with blogging community. This has proven tricky for many companies and will continue to stay this way. Employee Mobilisation: Help companies getting their own employees to believe in the things they do by creating employee engagement programs, and then let employees use belief to connect with people from the outside. Viral Mobilisation: understand the importance of building and nurturing memes. Help clients with crisis management, specially when the outbreak starts online and begins to spread. Building technology utilities and apps: for the web, the desktop and the phone. Having an understanding of search engine optimization. This is where the media planners come in to social media agencies. Knowing how search engines rank pages and finding ways to ensure that your pages come up tops when people search. Crowdsourcing: the whole point here is to engage with a group of creators and sustain their interest in the project. CPB recently did a crowdsourcing project that got into a bit of controversy. Web Development. Agencies, like it or not, will need to understand web development big time. Not just of the microsite kind, but deep engaging ones. Measurement and analytics, how to understand and engage with visitors online, who are the people coming, and why are they coming to our site. The ability to build alliances and partnerships. Here, Ed talks about the ability to work closely with partners in creating communication solutions mostly. Unlike the relationships agencies had in the past with production houses, there is a need to build long term alliances with companies and people who could almost be competing with the agency, at times. And of course the most important skill set that an agency already possesses. The need to go out and build experiences out there. Read the Edward Boches blog Creativity Unbound here