April 19, 2010
Experts exist for a reason. For example, there are many tasks the average car owner can perform on their own with a little practice; they maybe can change the oil, replace brake pads, tune a few elements. But in many cases it’s far more efficient and effective to let an expert dig into the heart of the machine to make it really purr.
Marketing has its own experts, for every conceivable aspect. Entire businesses are founded on the effort to market a product to a client, and there are people who are very, very good at what they do. Almost as soon as there was radio, there were commercials. Television followed suit, and advertising on the Web has begun to follow the same trend.
Fairly new to the field of brand marketing, but establishing a firm foothold all the same, is the social media marketing agency. In many ways similar to the traditional marketing agency, they still stand apart as experts in a particular field, one that is coming to dominate the way net surfers communicate. They offer specific advantages in their expertise that a more general agency might not fully grasp, and are worth a look for anyone serious about developing their brand into an online powerhouse.
A Specific Focus
There are two broad types of marketing agencies, generalists and specialists. General agencies frequently have several departments covering various angles, and definitely have a place in a modern advertising campaign. However, they lack the purity of focus that can come from a specialized approach, and may not be as committed to the realm of ideas the latter can provide.
A social media-specific advertising agency doesn’t have the clutter of distraction a more generalized body would. They train specifically in the tasks that gain ground for a brand through social media, including SEO, visual presentation, and linkback techniques. Since they focus on one specific element, there isn’t a temptation for them to ‘suggest’ broadening the horizon by including a television campaign in a social-media effort.
The modern brand relationship is no longer the example of the producer making proclamations and staging showings. Instead it is a conversation, an exchange back and forth between the audience and the speaker. Comments can be left, videos and podcasts can go viral and spread word lightning fast, and genuine up-to-date feedback can pour in as fast as an article goes up.
A social media marketing agency will understand these needs, and have the tools to facilitate the conversation. They know how to pick out the groups that are likely to be interested in a product, or the kind of article that will see more attention on Digg. They are practiced in developing the conversations between you and your client, and their services in this field are easy to appreciate.
Making it Stick
The net offers a new power to people looking to make their brand stick in people’s minds that has never been consistently available before – the power of persistence.
Previously, a commercial would come up when it came up. The advertiser had limited control over when a commercial might air, and the viewer had no serious way of knowing what commercials would show when. The Internet has changed this significantly. Websites catering to a user’s interests are only seconds away at any given time, and can be visited any time the user has a computer and a connection.
This creates the persistence that drives a good brand. When someone is coming to your blog day after day, week after week, your brand becomes part of their life Social media is a great way to make this happen, as it is easier than ever to integrate a blog, Twitter, and Facebook into a sort of press service for your product, be it physical or philosophical. A good social media agency can show you how to bring these ideas together, how to make them work in concert so that thoughts of your brand become as automatic as reading the paper to your audience.
A Clean Fit
There is a lot of talk on the Web about ‘organic’ results. This doesn’t have anything to do with ethically sourced food, but rather with making things fit together seamlessly. An organic effort ‘works’ together, and doesn’t seem forced or choppy. Instead of statements that cram in the same keyword phrase regardless of grammar, it focuses on content that fits into existing topics, that looks genuine because it is genuine.
For example, organic promotion can include work that doesn’t mention your brand directly at all. In some cases you might register a forum account on a discussion board that includes topics related to your blog, and provide content of your own to the discussions at hand. You never once mention your website, but instead focus on joining the discussions and making friends, and the entire time your site is linked in your signature. Eventually someone will click it, and start talking about it.
Getting people talking is part of organic promotion as well. When others are sending your link forward and sharing it with people of common interest, you’ll see the value of having relied on social media. That’s the real power behind it, the power to send out the ripples that get people to notice you. It starts slowly, but builds up irrevocably. So consider looking into an agency that specializes in maximizing social media, as there may be a lesson they can share that gets you the edge you need.
Enzo F. Cesario is an online branding specialist and co-founder of Brandsplat, a digital content agency. Brandsplat creates blogs, articles, videos and social media in the “voice” of our client’s brand. It makes sites more findable and brands more recognizable. For the free Brandcasting Report go to http://www.BrandSplat.com/ or visit our blog at http://www.iBrandCasting.com/