Social media: the only constant is change

In the history of the world, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Tumblr, Spotify, Foursquare and Pinterest have only been with us for the blink of an eye, but their influence on our lives, the way we gather information and communicate with each other has been profound. And the social media juggernaut is showing no signs of slowing down.

These days, communications businesses are increasing their focus on social media. The challenge has been finding the right model.  It needs to align to constantly adapting consumer behavioural patterns, endless platform updates and work seamlessly with client teams, who themselves have struggled to find the best solution. 

In the rapidly evolving world of social media it’s about constantly evolving, challenging the status quo, taking risks and being entrepreneurial. The end game is to make sure that the clients benefit, and I firmly believe this means agencies need to deliver a holistic solution based model. But being ‘full service’ is no longer as simple as it used to be, with greater overlap between departments, the line in the sand is always moving. 

Professional development has always been important, now it’s critical to our survival. These days every employee within an agency needs baseline understanding of the major social media platforms, as well as developing highly specialised skills each of these that are specific to their job role.  This isn’t a start to end process, but has to be built into the agency culture.  The desire to continually learn has always sat at the heart of great agencies and the people that work within them, but the challenge we’re faced with now is building a framework where our people are learning the right skill sets. Faced with this, we turned to Facebook for help, who have been instrumental in designing the program we are now using across all The Brand Agency offices globally.  

“The Brand Agency is the perfect example of the impact that can be driven when leaning into our relationship and partnering with Facebook to drive maximum value for their clients. The agency has built out their own custom Blueprint e-learning path to ensure the wider team are certified, trained and upskilled across Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network and many creative best practices. This initiative was agency led with their clients’ best interest in mind,” said Facebook’s Partner Manager ANZ, Sally O’Brien.

Today, social media doesn’t operate in isolation. Good execution of social media is about collaboration across an agency including the media technology, creative, design, production and corporate communication teams. This inter-agency alliance helps to maintain true channel neutrality when planning communications and again delivers the best results for clients. 

With the New Year just around the corner, I’m doing a little bit of crystal ball gazing. I’ll be interested to see the sales figures of the audio home assistant devices. But more importantly, whether they remain a gimmick used only by early adopters and people who work in marketing, or become a part of mainstream everyday life.  I suspect since they feed into the lazy nature of humans, it may become the latter. I think there is a massive opportunity for brands to design their own digital environments to work effectively on these platforms and create an immediate competitive advantage.  The clients and agencies who will deliver wins on these platforms aren’t sitting back and waiting for easily bought ad units to arrive with their spec sheets.

Data security is already a hot global topic, while it hasn’t been a major issue locally, it won’t take much for the conversation to change. In the meantime, ignorance appears to be bliss. This approach was much easier when most of the focus was on data collection and analysis. Today, we’re moving towards far more sophisticated data application and communications personalisation models.  Moderation is limited, and at some point, there is sure to be a major breach.  Clients and agencies need to be more effective in their data management strategies. As one data security expert said, there are two types of businesses, those that have been hacked and those that don’t know it yet. 

Finally, I think 2018 will see creativity, technology and media actually working very closely with each other, not just talking about it. And I believe those that do this, will still be here to talk about their plans for 2019.   

Article posted by Angela Naaykens