Been having some amusing phone calls with in-house heads of communications who are being bombarded with calls by digital and PR agencies and ad agencies all claiming to now offer social media.
The fact is that none of these agencies can do everything – whatever they might say. No one can be in the best in everything and one size does not fit all within this market.
I had a conversation with an experienced observer of the digital scene who said he knew of well-known agencies who often dropped the ball in certain areas where they claimed to be highly competent in a very glossy way.
ItsOpen (itsopen.co.uk) has been in social media for more than two years and some of our team have been involved in social media longer: I was writing about social media for The Guardian in 2005 and have the article to prove it!!
In the early days, it was extremely hard in some situations to get the attention of some companies who simply thought social media was a fad which could not be taken seriously. Some still hold that view, despite the mounting numbers and hard evidence to the contrary.
Many agencies are now simply adding on social media because they feel they should. Not because they actually specialise in the area.
Social Media is all we do at ItsOpen (itsopen.co.uk). We are not good at everything and we aim to concentrate on what we do best, based on the feedback we get from our clients and stakeholders.
PR agencies may claim to specialise in social media but many of them don’t. In fact, the boards of these companies – who set the culture – are often immersed in an established media mindset. I know examples of chairmen of famous PR companies, listed on the stock market, who simply see social media as another channel. It is hard for them to think
otherwise as their rise can be attributed to their brilliant understanding of established media and the contacts they built through established media. They spend their private time with representatives of the same mindset who simply reinforce the culture.
Wise clients know who is simply chasing a slice of the social media pie and those that are genuinely committed to social media, have something different and valuable to offer, and are naturally interested in all the latest thinking, and were before the change driven by these highly disruptive technologies began breaking into the mainstream.
Many leading companies have learnt – often to their cost – that their established media PR agencies with their established media credentials, are not always best equipped to help them successfully navigate the fast moving and unique culture of social media.