As part of the continuing series co-written with Steve Farnsworth, Lou Hoffman, and Paul Roberts, this week the question is, “What Role Should a Communications Agency Play in a Client’s Social Media Program?”
Let’s review what communications agencies are generally good at:
We are good at identifying and cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with influencers. This used to be confined to “the media” but now includes bloggers, Facebook Group admins, Twitterati, amateur YouTube broadcasters, etc.
We are good at spotting and judo-chopping communications issues (e.g., “we noticed someone on twitter has a beef with <client>; they have 15,000 followers, let’s respond asap with a note like _____”).
We are good at ideation; in fact we are freakin’ ninjas when it comes to wringing every last bit of juice out of a story concept.
We are good at Big Picture Thinking, in part because we work on several lines of business at a time, which provides a perspective commonly missing on in-house comms teams.
We are good at writing. We are good at follow-up. We are good at reporting results.
We understand the central tenets of Respect and Relevance better than any single marketing funtion in the mix.
It’s not too hard to roll these attributes up into a role that makes sense to corporate marketers. The communications agency’s role should be PARTNER: if you trust the agency, you bring them into the inner circle so that they can appropriately handle assignments ranging from Social Media Marketing Strategy, to Policy Development & Training, to Outreach & Response, etc.
The role probably ends at becoming the official voice of the corporation; it ends (kinda sorta) at Customer Service; it ends (kinda sorta) at Business Strategy; it ends (kinda sorta) at Sales; it ends (kinda sorta) at the Website. The communications agency can clearly help and impact those functions, but ultimately such influence rightly ends as the tendrils of the internal marketing group reach their own limits within the organization.
Posted on: September 22, 2010 at 9:47 am By Todd Defren