Monday, July 13, 2009

Fan or Fad? Scoring social media

Buzzmedia’s David Wang recently blogged that social media is the world’s biggest fad for marketers and said that there seems to be “an almost unhealthy fascination with social media among marketers at the moment.”

In the end, he said, “we’ll all realise that social media will become just regular ol’ media.

It’s a fairly detailed post – you can check it out here – and one that makes a really strong case for his argument. And addresses points which marketers definitely need to consider when using social media in the marketing mix.

One of the points which stood out for me (I just had a conversation with someone else about it before I read David’s post) was how social media was rife with experts but starved of authorities.

Untapped marketing tool?

Sure, there is a need for consultants and agencies to show marketers how to get started but I think when there are too many “experts” pitching advice and services to marketers it can have a negative effect. And I am not just talking about the obvious examples like if they hurt the brand through a less than relevant campaign.

On a basic level, I think when there are below-par experts pitching to marketers to spend on social media yet can’t convincingly address all of the marketer’s concerns or argue convincingly about why they should be using Twitter for example – it reduces client confidence in the medium. Makes it even more difficult for them to consider social media as a viable marketing tool, and in turn, also doesn’t help stimulate the growth of online ad spend either.

I know I’ve simplified the argument down a fair bit (1+1 doesn’t always = 2) but I wanted to raise another issue which I think is important which is about whether we need a digital agency scorecard. Are there any credible ones out there in the industry at the moment? Something which is able to tell marketer whether an agency is strong with social media but weak in other aspects.

Going back to David’s post, he said “agencies specialising in social media should be familiar with technologies like Open Social, Facebook Connect, community platforms like KickApps or social widgets and be able to build engaging applications that fit into a brand’s overall marketing strategy.”

That’s one good way to check – any other ideas?

7 comments:

Darren Yan said...

Marcus,

There are tools such as ViralHeat and Tinker which can assist marketers to measure the performance of their agency/consultants/experts managing their online social profile.  These tools can form a basic scorecard till the industry forms a sector-wide benchmark.
 
Cheers,

Darren


 

blogjunkie said...

Hi Marcus! Thanks for highlighting my blog post.

A scorecard is an interesting idea, but I think marketers should just tap their younger employees who understand social media to see if their consultant's suggestions make sense.

Shalabh Pandey said...

Just left this comment on the original post- and sharing it here as well:
So this calls for asking two questions:
1) Do we really think marketers are stupid to be giving their monies to the first person who walks in claiming whatever?
2) How is this different from choosing any agency or marketing services partner?
Being probably of same experience and age as Carolyn (earlier in the comments thread), I know that these things come and go. But having said that, I know people who adopt it first have obvious advantages.
========================
Important takeaway: Marketers are not stupid- but they should be more dynamic. My advice: Don't fret about who is coming to you with a plan. Hear everyone- and be people/expert agnostic. Think Ideas. Think Stories and think concepts. And see if they are gelling with your marketing objectives. Period.
========================
I have always agreed that online discussions around this topic are rife with agency love talks. Many of them 'offline' guys turning online specialists and other people turning this whole thing into an 'agency love fest'.
OpenSocial, Facebook connect are again just a drop in the ocean of the tools that could be used for harnessing conversations online. In this context it becomes important to marry the right concepts with the right tools.
Stories rule. If you can weave one well enough, people will listen.

Cheers
Shalabh
http://www.chasingthestorm.com

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