The Great Indian Social Media Circus
Social Media Optimization and Management services provided by many Digital Agencies in India, is a joke!
The Social Media scenario, is something which is constantly evolving, with norms that were relevant yesterday, becoming redundant today.
Every day, newer social media platforms are being launched, promoted and accepted among the netizens across the globe.
And while quite a few fail miserably, or are at very nascent stages, one cannot neglect those which are gaining in popularity and increasing their user base exponentially.
Against this kind of a backdrop, is it possible to take a standard approach to every client’s social media needs?
No? The answer sounds obvious, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, a large number of agencies offer precisely this, to their clients. A ‘One Size Fits All’ solution to their Social Media requirements.
There’s no doubt that you need to be on social media today. Without enough interaction with fans, customers and potential users of a product or service, there really is no visibility for a brand on the Internet. And today, with the slew of changes made in Google’s search engine algorithm, this visibility is something that directly reflects on your position in organic search results.
Today, the more popular you are, the more you engage with your audience, the more value you give them, the more you will show up on organic searches. And this is where social media plays the all important role in getting traction for your brand.
And while there are many SEO & Social Media experts who are well aware of this and are doing stellar work in this domain, there is a larger number of agencies who are all at sea, on this front.
It is common to come across agencies that approach clients, offering them Social Media services, and then proceeding to present a plan, which works on a templated model of X posts a day, posted at specific times, discussed and planned a month in advance.
They rarely speak beyond Facebook, Twitter and (if you’re lucky) LinkedIn.
They post on your behalf (using a programmable software, more often than not) and once or twice a day, they respond to queries or questions and clean up spam from the comments received on your page.
This defeats the whole purpose of being on social media.
The beauty of the medium is that it is versatile, responsive and connected. It is a live medium and as a marketer, the ability to react to what is unfolding around the world, while it is unfolding, with your own take on it, gives you much better leverage with your TA, than any other medium.
And this is something that you would never be able to get from an agency which looks upon Social Media as an extension of traditional PR.
In traditional PR, you control the flow of information, the tone of delivery and the time of release. On Social Media, you adapt to what’s happening in the world. You need to tweak your tone of delivery and the content you share, to match the sentiment among your fans.
This sounds minor, almost obvious. But it is the difference between someone who understands how to leverage Social Media, versus someone who is an executor.
The reason these execution agencies are able to pick up work, boils down to one word… PRICE.
They appear cheaper than larger agencies or professionals.
However, if you go behind the scenes, you’d realize exactly why a real professional charges more.
A better agency or professional invests extensively in time, people, resources and processes to monitor, manage and engage with your audience on your behalf. They spend hours researching internet trends and figure out how you could use these trends to your advantage. While they would have a basic direction on how they’d engage with your audience, a good SMO professional would always beg for some amount of freedom to tweak and modify the content (albeit within your communication guidelines) to be relevant to what’s happening in the world.
And this effort directly translates into man hours, overhead and research tools. That is what pushes their rates higher than those who simply post on your behalf.
If you were to do a cost benefit analysis of the money paid, versus the kind of output you would receive, a seemingly expensive, but excellent professional would cost you less than an agency which pitches lower, but gives you sub standard delivery on a ‘plan and automate’ format in return.
You may actually be better off handling it yourself, than handing over the keys to your brand communication, to someone who is clueless on what to do with it.
If you’re looking for an agency to handle your Social Media account, you should remember that, as with everything in life, quality comes at a price. If you pay peanuts you would, in most cases, get monkeys.
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