You’re not ready for social media and neither is your agency

I was going to write about why and how social media is like hiring your next employee but that’s being put on hold for another day. I got an e-mail today that made me go.. you’ve to be kidding me. I was exchanging e-mails with the CEO of a mid-sized marketing agency this morning. I know part of my success in this business is networking and making a few strategic partnerships with agencies (advertising or public relations shops) who are interested and would like to get into social media but don’t have all the resources in place to do that.

Hence, my talking with the CEO about opportunities and what they are currently working on. He told me that they were scaling back on social media and wanted to provide something affordable for clients that target the mass market they are looking to go after. While at the same time not being highly customized, high priced for the client. I wasn’t sure what to think but figured I would look at the attached PDF and saw the following:

Set Up 
‣ Review social media networks and determine correct mix
‣ Develop social media marketing ideas
‣ Determine the social media marketing strategy
‣ Identify target market segments and create a list of people to follow or connect with on social media networks
‣ Create a Communications and Promotions Calendar this outlines advertising, promotions, communications, product launches and events that need to be communicated to each of your target market segments each month
‣ Create social media accounts*
‣ Create custom branded background for Twitter account*
‣ Create custom branded Facebook page with logo, company information, instal and set up relevant applications*
‣ Create a blog*
‣ Send social media buttons and URLs to web developers to add to your website
*Optional Items, set up fee will be reduced accordingly if these items have already been implemented by client
One Time Fee $500

My first issue is how are you going to do everyone listed about for $500. Setting up social networks and creating a blog is a time intense process and should take at least week as you want to create something that lines up with the clients brand and messaging. This doesn’t take into account that creating a social media audit and using that to create a strategic plan for the client. I’m not sure how this agency is going to do all this work for $500. There is a good 30+ hours worth of work here, if the agency plans to do it correctly and put the best foot forward for their clients success in social media.

This doesn’t include using tools to monitor the clients brand online, which the CEO told me was not something they would be doing and didn’t matter for their social media efforts as the client wasn’t interested in doing that. Regardless of if the client wants it or not, you’ve to educate them about why monitoring their brand online is important. I told the CEO that just getting into social media for sales and lead generation is going to be a bad idea and the client wouldn’t be seeing any return at the end of the day. But this was just the beginning as I saw the next section below.

Monthly Marketing Activities

‣ Create, optimize and upload up to 4 blog articles per month to your blog
‣ Promote your blog articles by submitting all articles to Digg, Delicious & Stumble-Upon

‣ Identify people to follow on Twitter. Send follow invites, follow people back, unfollow those not following
‣ Send out up to 50 Tweets a months and drive to a lead generation page
‣ Monitor direct messages and mentions on Twitter
‣ Respond to direct messages, mentions and Tweets

‣ Post links to blog articles on Facebook page and distribute
‣ Recruit fans for Facebook page
‣ Monitor page and posts and send any relevant requests to client
‣ Join groups and distribute posts
‣ Interact with fan posts
‣ Add photos to Facebook page

Monthly Fee $700

I won’t get into the fee as we know this is a very low price point. What concerned me above was the idea that the agency was telling clients they would only follow people who followed them back on Twitter. Or that we’ll only send up to 50 tweets a month. This short sighted plan I would expect to see from someone calling themselves a “social media guru/expert” and not from a global agency. They should be doing better to educate their clients and not take a half-assed approach to social media on behalf of their clients.

The client who buys the above isn’t going to see any return. You get out of social media what you put in and in this case, the client wouldn’t be getting anything. They are not monitoring their brand online as I mentioned and it’s only going to hurt the clients brand and give them a negative image. It’s our job as agencies to not let our clients get into social media just because they want to get in but provide them with the knowledge and education they need to be successful in the space.

I’m not one to post tons of information like this but this was just the pushing point. We do have to point out the people in social media who’ve no idea what they are doing. If you plan to hire your agency and they send you a “tactical plan” like the one above. Starting looking for a new agency to help you get into social media. This one doesn’t seem to care about their client being successful and only about meeting an unrealistic price point that the client wants to meet. I told the CEO I would love to see the case study on their success next year and I plan to follow up about it too.