Pitching Social Media: Key Takeaways I’ve Learned In 6 Months

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been roughly 6 months since I left Microsoft for the agency world. In that time I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and all the planning and strategy work is starting to pay off as the last few months have had me constantly driving new business for the firm.

At Strategies 360 we have a unique approach as we combine public policy & government relations work along with the communications, marketing and PR work that traditional agencies focus on. It’s been a learning curve for me as my background has primarily been focused on B2B and B2C clients. That being said, there are some definite key takeaways I’ve gleaned over these past few months that I thought might be useful to share.

Social media (as it exists today) is still in its honeymoon phase. What I mean by that is that for all the millions of users that use SM on a regular basis, most if not all of the clients that I have pitched come in to meetings having no clue how to use social media for their business or organization. While most people certainly know how to use the Facebooks and Twitters of the world, there is a fairly large disconnect on how to use these channels to contribute to business objectives & goals. Most client pitches I develop must include an initial education piece in addition to selling our firm. Quite frankly this is one of the areas of my job I enjoy the most.

What to charge for social media is all over the place. Many agencies are still trying to figure out the right pricing models for social media work. The biggest challenge is that the social media engagement piece can not be automated. It requires real people responding in as close to real time. That can be a lot of man hours, and sometimes clients fail to realize what can be involved. In addition, many social media CRM & reporting tools are still evolving allowing agencies to manage multiple clients more efficiently. Mack Collier does a great yearly wrap up that includes some research that sheds some light on the subject. Every client’s specific needs can vary quite a bit, but SM pricing should start to become more consistent as the dust settles.

Most (if not all) social media plans are heavily dependent on a strong communications plan. My team works extremely close with out communications/PR team on a daily basis. Our ability to deliver on results oriented social media strategies does not come without heavy contributions from our communications team. From editorial calendars to blog articles to reviewing social media engagement, having a communication team to partner with has been invaluable.

Of course I’ve learned much more then these 3 takeaways, but these are the ones that have stood out the most for me. I would love to hear from any of you that are in the agency or service world and what you’ve experienced as well.