The Social Agency

Source: flickr.com/photos/rremundo

Eventually “social” will no longer be a differentiator just as digital marketing will no longer remain distinct from marketing. A few months after buying that new BMW, it becomes just your car. Similarly, “social” will just be the norm. If you take a quick gander at how potential clients search for an interactive agency, it’s very clear that prospects are demanding that your agency offers social media services. And nearly half of your clients’ customers expect brands to respond to them on Twitter.

Many brands have jumped on board the social bandwagon. Some have social media customer service centers, dedicated community managers and editorial planning behind their social content creation, and are still eager to take social to the next level. Yet there remains a vast demand for social media education from the 101 level and beyond. Every brand – whether engrossed in social media or not – has a different social media maturity. And an agency business opportunity exists at each stage along the maturity curve: each step is a different opportunity for an agency to help them to the next level.

Here are just a few stats to illustrate how much growth remains in the social business space:

There emerge four major roles the social agency can play to meet the demand:

The Four Roles of the Social Agency

1. Interpreter – make sense of data, make actionable recommendations

  • By far one of the biggest opportunities for agencies is getting comfortable with aggregating and analyzing the right data, and reporting on what matters. Just because you can measure digital doesn’t mean you need to measure everything. Brands need help understanding not only why certain conversations and phenomena are happening in social media, but what they can do about it.
  • This all starts with listening. Agencies can help clients by tuning in to the right conversations at the right time, and translating what those conversations mean for a client’s business.

2. Tour Guide – educate and help clients navigate the social media space

  • Intangible, consultative services are often times needed from agencies. Agencies can reserve “doing” for the client, and instead take a step back to “show” or “coach” clients on the nature of social media and how it can be leveraged to accomplish business goals.
  • “You teach best what you most have to learn.” – Richard Bach. By staying on top of the social media industry and informing clients about the implications these transformations have on clients’ businesses, agencies are better apt to stay on top of the changing social media landscape and can more easily devise new offerings to sell.
  • Clients need help becoming more human in their online communications, listening at the point of need, integrating traditional marketing with social media, getting their employees educated and involved, etc.

3. Ally – do the social media marketing, listening or engaging that your client doesn’t have the resources or know-how to do

  • Brands often times want to be involved in social, but want an agency to do it for them. Agencies have the opportunity to do one or more of the following: social editorial planning, social content creation, social content distribution, social media campaign planning and deployment, and social media measurement. Facebook-only to full-blown community management is also an option.
  • Determining what to say in social often stems from insights from social media listening.

4. Choreographer – integrate and harmonize social media technologies

  • Be an agency that not only advises the client which social technologies to adopt (you’ll have to do your research, conduct trials, etc.), but constructs the policies, processes and educational groundwork necessary to mold the client into a nimble and equipped social company. The agency also project manages this transformation.

Learn more about social media services to offer clients in our recent ebook, The Social Agency: 20 Social Media Services to Offer Your Clients. How is your agency preparing or currently meeting the demand for the social agency?