In order to have a socially led brand, you have to focus on making sure that you outline a clear cohesive social strategy that you either execute in-house or via a competent agency that is immersed in social.
If you choose to operate within your own organization, you have to make sure that you are poised to accept the challenge to manage things from a very different perspective.
Most brand marketers aren’t set-up to be nimble and responsive. Brand marketers are set up to manage campaigns that have taken months to put together. Being nimble and responsive are going to have to be learned attributes if you expect to run a socially led brand.
The next step is to realize what it means to be a socially led brand. In that regard you have to be prepared to create compelling content, tell great stories, optimize that content to make it as shareable and consumable as possible, then you need to amplify that content to the highest possible level. After that’s all said and done, you need to be prepared to do it all over again, week after week.
There’s no sense in building a social audience if you aren’t going to deliver the goods. What good is a Tweet here or a Facebook update there with no cohesive strategy behind it. If you plan on doing things in-house, then you’d better be prepared to master all of this.
Now the other side of the coin. If you choose to retain an agency to make this happen for you, you still have to do everything you see above AND manage an agency who may not have YOUR best interests at heart. I could spend hours writing about what you should look for in an agency to help you build a socially led brand, but instead, let me just give you three key points that will reveal volumes regarding an agency’s capacity to manage your brand socially.
1. Are they social themselves? Can you look at their social footprint and discern if they are even a socially led brand themselves? That’s going to be a HUGE initial indicator. If an agency isn’t active themselves socially, then do they have the experience to steward your ship?
2. Check out their existing clients. In a socially transparent world, this is pretty easy to do. See what’s being posted. Is there any real strategy or organization? Is it the same old stuff being posted day after day? Is there any substantive engagement? Here’s a big thing to look for. When you’re on their client’s pages, do you see anything that you would spend your social currency on? Meaning would you share any of the content that the agency is posting?
3. Find out what the relative experience is of those in the agency who will be working on your account. What kind of social footprint do they have on their own? How is the social aspect of the operation being led? What’s the philosophy?
Social media is becoming more and more important everyday. Social isn’t about posting crap a few times per day. Community management as the end all be all isn’t the Holy Grail of social. In order to be a socially successful brand, you have to understand that eyeballs are no longer the target metric. That ship has sailed. You must have experiential activation at the forefront. You have to give them something to talk about. Most agencies who pitch themselves as being social are running off of a gameplan formed some time ago. What they’re doing is no longer socially relevant.
As seen in the video above, Karl Isaac, director of brand strategy at Adobe talks about brands being able to put social media at the center of a strategy and being able to market in real-time instead of the usual weeks and months.
The big takeaway? How can you be nimble and responsive working with an agency that truly isn’t? How can you provide shareable and consumable content with an agency that can’t? How can you make sure that you truly activate your audience with an agency that doesn’t have any experience in doing so? How can you publish and optimize great content, that people actually want to share…then amplify that content, with an agency staffed by employees who’ve never done that?
The answer is…you can’t! A brand that expects to be successful socially has to be led by a team that understands social inherently, is experienced in creating and executing social activations and is nimble and responsive in their own right. You don’t want to work with an agency that’s learning on the fly.