Evolve CommunicationsSocial Media

Posts Tagged: Social Media

Should an Agency Tweet?

A few days ago, I was asked this interesting question in a meeting with a potential client. Actually, the prospect asked me if I tweet as Evolve Communications. (In case you’re wondering, I don’t. I tweet as myself.)

Up until recently, I held the belief that agencies should tweet. All the time. After all, it’s a way to establish connections, showcase work, and also establish a foundation for thought leadership (yes, I DO believe thought leadership can be accomplished in 140 characters). There’s certainly no shortage of ad agencies on Twitter.

I believed this until I attended the #140 characters conference in DC. During the panel discussion called Emergency 2.0, NPR social media strategist Andy Carvin was discussing a request for donations of food, clothing, etc. that he tweeted during the Haiti crisis. He tweeted through both his own personal account (@acarvin) as well as the NPR Politics (@nprpolitics) account. Andy has approximately 15,000 followers. NPR has close to two million followers. What happened next was fascinating.

Andy received more responses from his personal account than the tweet through the NPR account. This lead to the observation (I’m paraphrasing here) that the connection Andy has with his Twitter followers is much stronger–and possibly more powerful–than the connection between a mainstream media outlet and its followers. NPR, like many other news outlets of its stature, never interacts with its followers (to the frustration of many, I’m sure).

For all the talk of “engagement” and “conversation” that social media offers, it seems rare for mainstream media outlets to use it as such (side note: the fine people who manage the Baltimore Sun’s Twitter presence (@baltimoresun) do an excellent job of interacting with their followers on Twitter). Most of them still use it as a broadcast model.

Which brings me back to the question of whether or not an agency should tweet. After hearing Andy’s story, I say no. Let your people do it for you. They’re your best spokespeople. They’re the ones who either talk with clients every day, or produce amazing creative, or create powerful marketing strategies, or even pay the agency bills, or answer the phones. The human connection is what we are all striving for when using social media. Let people be people, I say.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a social media policy. More on that later.


It’s not all social media!

It’s true, social media is the marketing darling of the moment. But let’s remember four facts:

  • By nature, the web has always been social.
  • Online marketing has been around as long as the internet has been public.
  • There is always more than one solution to a problem.
  • When all you have is a hammer (social media), everything is a nail (social media programming).

Social Media HammerIt’s essential to remember that what clients want is to win. But in a game whose rules are only limited by the imagination, it can be difficult to define what winning is. And with social media taking the spotlight, it might be easy to see how that is the solution to a marketing problem.

Yes, it’s also true that social media is changing how we interact with each other, and how businesses interact with its stakeholders (be they customers, stock holders, vendors, etc.). That doesn’t mean every marketing challenge has a social solution. Instead, social media may be a single tactic in an array of tactics meant to work together.

And, lastly, it’s quite common for businesses to believe they need to be on Facebook and Twitter in order to do social media. Smart consultants would argue that’s putting the cart before the horse. Remember, blogs can be social, too (remember when they were the hottest thing several years back?). Videos are clearly social vehicles. Bookmarking, like blogs, have been eclipsed by social networks, they are still social, and when combined with blogging can be powerful traffic drivers.

The key, of course, is to understand how these tools and tactics work together, and to apply that knowledge creatively. That will ultimately net the biggest benefit to the client.


Redefining a Housing Fair

Picture this:

The real estate market has suffered major volatility for 18 months. People are uneasy about buying a home. And even if they want to buy one, the financial industry has been racked with scandals over high-risk mortgages and collateralized debt obligations, leaving the entire U.S. economy in shambles.

How, then, do you convince people to attend a housing fair–especially one in a county that Forbes magazine called the 3rd wealthiest in the nation?

One way is to make the housing fair more accessible than ever.

Using a combination of blogging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and good old-fashioned media relations, Evolve Communications worked with Howard County Housing’s marketing agency to drive traffic to the Come Home to Howard County Housing Fair, making it one of the most successful fairs ever.