As a Marketing or Brand Manager, it’s now your remit to attract and retain a base of brand fans on platforms that include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, and possibly Snapchat too! Given that social media is not a discipline in itself, it’s simply a new platform that delivers a message to an audience, it may be hard to determine which of your agency partners should ‘own’ this critical area of communications.
Do you ask a single consultancy to manage all of your social strategy, execution and community management, because surely this ensures the integration of a single campaign message through multiple touch points, and less agency management time for you? Or, should you engage a mix of agencies for different platforms? Confused? FORWARD breaks down the capabilities that your internal or external team should have, regardless of whether they sit in Marketing, Customer Service, External Relations or a funky warehouse in hipsturbia.
1. They are experienced at building relationships
A team who puts the customer or key stakeholder ahead of everything else is worth gold in social media. Timeliness is everything – and crucial down under: Australian consumers are some of the most demanding in the world, with 72% expecting a response to an online request within a day, and 41% within an hour!
2. They have experience at managing issues
A poorly timed marketing campaign, like that of Malaysia Airline’s bucket list competition to win free flights on the recently troubled carrier, or jumping on a trending hashtag a la DiGiorno’s Pizza, without regard for the domestic violence conversation #WhyIStayed and what it relates to, quickly turns it into a PR nightmare.
By working with a team experienced in putting out fires like these, you stand a good chance of them not happening in the first place. And if they do, the appropriate response can be underway in seconds, versus you anxiously waiting for the External Relations Director to come to your rescue.
3. They understand the news medium of social channels
Twitter is a channel in which news breaks, whether it’s disgruntled customers causing their dissatisfaction to trend online or images of an event, meaning content can spread across online and traditional news outlets, often globally, in a matter of minutes. Working with a consultancy that knows how news unfolds and when to harness the news agenda, or avoid it, means your social media channels are being managed strategically.
Facebook is also prone to blunder, but your audience is far more likely to be a forgiving fan than a heavy hitting news journalist or troll looking for controversy.
4. They have outstanding communication skills
Having conversations in real time on a public platform is very different to making an ad that goes through multiple checkpoints with legal and other specialists before it’s shared. You’d be crazy not to have someone who doesn’t know their sh*t from they’re sh*t to be tweeting, responding to fan comments, having conversations or dealing with complaints on your behalf.
5. They understand the value of reputation
While it used to be so much easier to manage the message in the era of traditional media, it still required those communicating it to articulate a brand’s value proposition, and to do so consistently and regularly. The same rules still apply in social.
No single department or consultancy can ever ‘own’ social media, namely because social media is a conversation. And how do you own a conversation where the number of participants is infinite and the direction is out of the brand’s hands? Choose a person, agency or platform that can help encourage conversation and point it in a certain direction, one that aligns with your brand. In the very least, having these capabilities provides a good place to start.