OK, so you still want to be a social media agency after reading part one? Got all of those capabilities down? Good, on to part two. This will either motivate you or exhaust you. Turns out there’s much to master. And, if you’re a client, and you think you can do all of this yourself, think again. I’m not sure anyone can. Here are seven more capabilities you might need to do social media right.
8. Technology, utility and apps
Think you can be a real social media agency without developers? I kind of doubt it. Twitter’s API, Firefox add ons, Facebook Connect, iPhone apps, and now augmented reality, seem to be as much a part of the landscape as 140-character sound bites. You may not have to build the applications yourself, but you’ll want to know how to conceive them and get them produced. Plus this is the fun stuff.
9. Search engine optimization
In some ways this is simple. Generate great content that gets linked to. Blog. Increase your engineered presence. But it’s surprising to me how many brands don’t take advantage of the basics, from their own blog SEO to Google Local Business to a more thoughtful and measured use of keywords. You may also want to think about optimizing content for Stumbleupon, Delicious and Digg, even developing relationships with social bookmarkers who fall within a client’s business niche. Just don’t be what SEO types call a black hat. All the tools are out there. Get your developers to show you how, hire a kid right out of college, or learn it yourself.
You can’t be in this business if you don’t start thinking about how to use the power of the crowd. Forget design competitions for a minute. Here’s a simple example. We’re about to make new TV spots for the Boston Bruins. We don’t need help. But if we invite the crowd to create along with us, we’ll end up with dozens of videos, a lot more buzz and conversation, and the appreciation of all those who get to play along. Why not get to know some of the companies that can help, firms such as Tongal and Kluster and Chaordix?
11. Web development
True, the days of if you build it they will come are over. But in certain cases, this may still be the best place to do business, demonstrate your capabilities and host your content. And there’s no reason a brand can’t invite its community to join them here. (Think Starbucks and Dell.) Should a social media agency be able to build websites, or at least contribute to a client’s? Absolutely.
12. Measurement and analytics
Yes, it is actually possible to measure social media: everything from reach (quality and quantity) to discussion (topics and sentiment) to impact and ROI (site traffic and purchase intent. Of course that means you’ll need enterprising listening platforms, text mining partners, platform API tools, and site analytic solutions. (Can’t believe I just wrote that sentence; say what?)
13. Alliances and partnerships
The good news is you don’t have to do all this yourself. You simply need to know where to get these capabilities or who to work with. Which means you’ll want partners and alliances no matter how many capabilities you have in house. This is a mindset more than anything. One that any agency should have and one that any client should demand. The future isn’t just about community and conversation, it’s about curating and collaborating, too.
14. Branding experience
I saved the most important for last. Even with all this social media stuff, we’re still taking about marketing. And marketing is all about brands: knowing what they stand for, staying relevant to your customers, being consistent in your voice and behavior, differentiating yourself through all of your content, even your posts on Twitter. Neglect to understand the fundamentals of branding and how social media efforts are but one piece of an overall marketing effort and you can do more damage than good.
Yesterday, Bob Rinderle left a comment that this was really about creating and defining a relationship agency. True. But as we all know, relationships are complicated and time consuming. They take work.
So, what do you think? Are 14 capabilities enough to be a social media agency?