NMA on Social Media

The NMA this week has a special about social media – so I’d thought I’d comment on some of the comments. They’d spoken to some of the heads of the top digital media agencies to get their opinions.

I really ought to set the scene – this is an advertising journal talking to people who buy advertising space for a living. Everything they see is through a lens of paid media, something that doesn’t always sit well alongside the social aspects of the online world. I came to this business from a social media perspective, how tools and sites can be used to foster a dialogue between customers and brands, so my point of view probably starts off the opposite from many of the quoted people. (Update...given that, as Stefan says in the comment, I do agree with some of them. I should really write these in 1 session instead of over the day!) Given that context, here’s my favourite bits and my response.

the best social media campaigns are ones which add something to the user experience and therefore leave people with a positive brand association….we take it on a campaign-by-campaign basis. Josh Krichefski, BLM Quantum

Entirely agree that a paid media campaign should focus on adding to the user experience, to give something back. But treating them on a campaign-by campaign basis can backfire, if people think they are being used again and again without the chance to feed something back to the brand. Listening is as important, if not more so, than broadcasting.

People are figuring out that social media isnt’ just a media buy… Andrew Walmsley, i-level

People who are not in the advertising space figured that out a long time ago. Social media for them is more about the social site, the media (especially the paid stuff) is secondary at best, downright annoying at worst. A brand may do better participating in the social side than trying to dominate the media.

There’s a genuine lack of understanding from clients as they don’t use the sites themselves. Robin O’Neill, GroupM

Social networks are in the same place the web was in the late 90′s/early 00′s. Many brands could not work out why they should be on the web as the people holding the budgets did not use the web. we’ve got the same now with social networks and will have the same with whatever comes next. It’s a long hard slog to get that understanding.

…two uses of social media: generating huge numbers of impressions through display and as part of a campaign, which is the exciting part. Stefan Bardega, Director of Digital, MediaCom

The former can be useful – lots of brand measurement figures improve when online advertising is in the mix of a campaign. Providing some utility, some piece of fun, something else to do can have a far bigger effect (and be more fun to create!)

Find the right insight and develop the right idea, then look at how to implement it. If it happens to require social media, then great. We don’t want to a return to the old online obsession of using a medium just for the sake of it. Keven Murphy, Zed Media

As someone who has spent far too much time on the receiving end of being pitched the latest agency obsession, amen to this (just look at the current lust for Twitter). You have to have the right idea, audience AND brand culture to use social media effectively.

The other articles are really just about social networks – Facebook, Bebo and mySpace, which are only a subset of the social media out there. But I guess you can only mention so much in a dead tree format.

(As an aside, I wonder how many of the people mentioned do ego searches?)

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4 Responses to NMA on Social Media

  1. Stef says:

    arent you simply agreeing with me then?

  2. Rachel says:

    Yes. I’ve updated the post! I started off writing this in one session, with things I disagreed with and then moved on later in the day. Then hit publish without reading it all again!!!

  3. Andrew says:

    My quote in NMA is inarticulate to say the least! If I didn’t say it, what I meant was most people have now figured out that SM isn’t a media buy. It’s meant as a criticism – that it’s taken so many people so long to twig this. People still talk about ‘campaigns’, ‘impressions’, ‘sponsorship’ – all signs that agencies are way behind consumers online!

  4. Rachel says:

    Andrew, thanks for stopping by.

    I’d argue about the fact that most people have figured it…maybe I’m talking with different people but it’s not so in my experience. I agree though, that people in advertising are getting there, just slower than most people who have been using social media.

    It’s a rapidly changing space and hopefully acceptance and understanding is getting there faster than the inital digital revolution.