Warren Sukernek criticizes companies for failing to commit actions that they suggest to clients, according to a blog comment he left me last year:
If the agency doesn’t have the social media platform or Twitter experience, then the client should not choose them for those types of projects. Continuing to work with agencies that fake the experience just propagates the myth.
I observed, in February 2009, that many marketing and PR agencies were branching into social media evangelism for their clients and sold their services under the premise of walking the walk and talking the talk. I opined such agencies were doomed to fail because they were unable to walk and talk together:
[Y]ou can’t do one or the other; you must do both. Having a Facebook group but not a Twitter profile, or having your principals listed on the corporate website but not LinkedIn is wrong; if for no other reason, than your prevention of me and every other prospective customer or partner to be able to find you and interact with you.
Was Warren’s reaction correct?
I see social media and interactive as different. Interactive is about people engaging with a system; social media is about people using technology to communicate. While I’d hope an interactive agency understood social media, I don’t think not using social media means they’re not a good interactive partner. – Andrea Hill
Many interactive/marketing firms are trying to figure out social media, so they may not be there yet. - Josh Fialkoff
I resurrect my year-old blog post because of a comment to, and from, Matter Communications (a full-service public relations agency in my hometown) on their corporate blog last month. My comment — questioning why their Facebook fan page was 30 days outdated, why their Twitter stream incorporated predominantly broadcasts and few replies to people, and why their corporate blogging saw few comments — was sparked by a sentence from the group blogger, account manager Tobi Young, about how the agency uses social media:
As an agency we push ourselves to be ahead of the curve through education and by adopting social media practices. We take pride in our expertise…
Expertise? That implies walking and talking at the same time, a trend I didn’t see in their usage (which has since been corrected). Their clients may be happy, but as someone curious what a PR agency in my town is doing with social media, considering the above claim they are in the groundswell, I was skeptical — so I turned to PR industry experts to share their thoughts whether a marketing agency must use the tools they preach to their clients.
Stevie Wilson, brand manager: Creating a Facebook page won’t do anything if you don’t build up a base of fans and communicate — and really have a conversation. Ditto with Twitter; merely sending out your own things and thanking people for re-tweeting them isn’t sufficient to make you a twitter dynamo. You have to engage others. You have to “talk” to them like they are real people. This has to come from the top down. It’s about value-add. They have to show-off what they do by their own actions; and their pages, websites, etc., are their mirrors to the world.
David Spinks, Scribnia community manager: Both marketing yourself and marketing for clients is vital for business development. I think that focus put into the work they do for their clients should always outweigh the work they do for themselves; however their own marketing should not be forgotten. You want to make potential customers aware of the good work that you’re doing.
If you’re a marketing agency suggesting your clients do X, and you’re not doing X yourself, I question your motives. Thoughts?