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Why an agency for social media?

Author: Krešimir Dominić

Ping Pong is an agency that specialises in social media communication. Sounds great! But why is it necessary to have a specialised agency?  Isn’t that the kind of thing done by PR agencies like Abrakadabra or other digital agencies…
... And over the last year this is how most of our lengthy discussions and numerous talks have begun; not only internally but also with clients, colleagues and journalists. The answer is simple: Yes, it is necessary to have particular, specialised agencies for social media! Such an agency, or rather the professionals that work there, are equipped with specialised skills and tools which give them a unique position from which to operate. More importantly, such agencies are 100% dedicated to two-way communication by way of social networks/media. And most important of all: without specialised agencies, we won’t be able to develop the profession and we won’t be able to talk as equals and partners to clients in the communication business.

Dedication to two-way communication

Communication on social networks is different from traditional PR and different from traditional (even on-line) marketing. It can include elements of these methods but the thing that makes it unique is the instant feedback. The old paradigm of forcing messages in front of consumers no longer works. In the past, consumers could choose which channel of communication they wanted to use.  However, now they see information on their personal Facebook profile, on their own Twitter timeline and most importantly, they can reply immediately or direct the communication elsewhere and influence other users.

Developing the Community Manager profession
Remember the birth pains of the PR profession! Several decades ago (depending on the market) PR employees were all kinds of people: propaganda spreaders, people operating on the fringes of media buying, general dogs bodying in BTL marketing… Time and money were imperative to developing, profiling and imposing the profession. Today, every serious company understands that communication is a function of the management board. Directors of corporate communications are now on the level with those in marketing (or at least they should be), and people know exactly what PR is and why it is needed. Translated into business terms this means: it is evident that an adequate budget is allocated to PR.

Sounds great but is there any money in it?
The development of the profession of Community Manager or Expert for Social Network Communications (or whatever you like to call it) is not going to happen if we don’t succeed in convincing the business community that communication on the social media networks needs specialised agencies and specialised company departments. In general, the trend is that companies have begun to perceive the importance of the social network; they like it and they’d like to do something on ‘that’ Facebook or ‘that’ Twitter, but they are less inclined to set aside adequate budgets for it. “Well, dear business people, that’s not how things work.” Of course, you can get your neighbour’s kid to do a bit of moonlighting and write you up ‘something on Facebook’, but we saw how that went with designing web sites! Make no mistake: social network communication is serious business that also demands serious funding.
Think about it…it is surely important to you who represents your company, writes in your name, organises competitions and reacts to customer queries almost in real time. And you are surely aware that this is work for a double shift and, more often than not, for weekends too. Do you want a communication strategy that complements your PR and marketing, a planned conversation calendar, proactive and effective communication, assessment and evaluation and a clear ROI calculation?

Yes, of course you do! You need an Agency for Social Network Communication.




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