Agencies on Twitter

>> Thursday, July 9, 2009

There has been a lot written just in the last two weeks about agencies on Twitter. As an active agency ourselves, we have something to say. William Martino is just the guy to say it. Hope this finds you well -- Jim.

Take it away, William:

Would you hire a plumber who has a leaky faucet in his own home?

This is essentially the question that Rupal Parekh asks in her recent AdAge article, where she is quite critical of several agencies (big and small, traditional and digital) for their presence (or lack thereof) on Twitter (and by extension, other social media like social networks and blogs).

Her main argument is simple: how can these agencies rightfully preach the value and advantages of social media when they can't successfully "master" the spaces themselves?

It's a question that sparked a tremendous amount of debate in the accompanying comments with opinions from both sides of the aisle. I find myself agreeing with 2 comments in particular.

The first, by robbywells, argues that you wouldn't judge the advertising work from these same shops based on their own self promotion ads (could you imagine if THAT was how Cannes lions were awarded?), so why would you judge them by their Twitter accounts?

The other comment, from carlenlea, rightfully asks the most important question that both the author and most of the commenters overlook: what were these examples trying to achieve and how are they measuring success?

All too often, the lure of engaging in social media has the unfortunate side effect of performing a "marketing lobotomy," where the fundamentals of what we do go right out the window.

Business objective? What's that? Who cares.

Strategy? What strategy? Twitter is HOT right now!

For our agency, social media is another way (in addition to places like PR, conferences, and trade press) to "own wellness marketing."

One of our strategies, "have a dynamic voice," lent itself perfectly to a blog and places like Twitter and Facebook. And we're monitoring things like web analytics to see if the content we're creating is really raising our voice in the marketplace (having clients call to share their enthusiasm over the blog doesn't hurt either).

As I've said before, there is no "one way" to participate in social media—what works for one person (or brand) doesn't necessarily work for another. But our approach as marketers should always be the same: tie your efforts to clear business objectives, identify a strategy that will help you succeed, and determine early on what success looks like and how you will measure it.

That's what we should be evaluated on, not page views and followers.

- William Martino, Digital Strategist at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness


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