Finding Our Place in the Interactive Food Chain.
Last month, a big internet marketing poobah sent me a rather patronizing tweet to chastise me for inferring that social media sits at the top of the interactive food-chain.
My first response (which I didn’t tweet) was, “Honey, if it makes you sleep better at night to think I’m that ignorant about my industry, be my guest.”
Of course I don’t believe social media sits at the top of the food chain.
But, many of the companies who hire us do.
We bill ourselves as a “social media firm” for two simple reasons: search and sales – that’s the kind of help people are looking for and that’s the kind of service they are looking to buy.
Unfortunately, a lot of social media firms and consultants are taking advantage of these companies by selling them social media as the end-all, be-all of their interactive strategy. [Insert endless navel-gazing debates on “the death of social media experts” here…].
Let me be clear…
Kane Consulting is not one of those firms.
We sell companies what they think they want and then, when we get inside, we give them what they need – which usually isn’t just a social media strategy, but a digital communications strategy.
The fundamentals of the two are the same – not just a focus on the information you want to push out and the parameters of the technical tools with which you choose to push those messages – but the strategic oversight of the nature in which you conduct business and engage in conversations online with all of your clients/customers, vendors, employees, media contacts, etc.
Sometimes, in taking this wide lens approach, we do end up finding ourselves at the top of the food chain – not just directing the social media, but helping a company wrap their heads around their entire marketing and communications ecosystem.
And, we’re finding ourselves beating some major interactive players out of gigs because – where they walked in and pitched a big fancy new website – we started with the basics and asked, “who do you want to talk to and why?”
Dear agencies: Don’t freak out. We come in peace.
Now, just because we use social media as our invitation to the strategic main course, it doesn’t mean we automatically assume we are the goddesses of everything digital. We rely on a pretty big virtual Rolodex of partner firms and consultants to help us integrate the client’s strategy across all digital mediums.
But regardless, I get that it probably feels weird for other agencies to see “the social people” getting a seat at the head of the table. If I was an established interactive marketing professional, I’d probably be tempted to send patronizing tweets, too.
But, that’s our natural and strategic evolution as a company.
We never set out to merely teach companies how to tweet. We want to teach them how to talk, and that’s part of a digital communications structure that looks like it’s here to stay.
So, just a heads-up…we are, too.
first, let’s not call it food chain shall we, let’s call it ecosystem. DOH but in the agency biz it is dog eat dog isn’t it?
second, it’s hard to be interactive these days without being social.
third, I believe you can be social without having a platform of your own. Being a participant in conversations initiated by others, being a company that listens more than it speaks to me is still having a social component as part of your digital communications strategy.
Fourth – I need to get out there and mix it up with you big time agencies, sounds like fun : ) My buy for our next round of beverages.
all the best. Hi to @karyD
Now I’m off to make some money, tuition due in August !
You’re right. It is more of an ecosystem, but the phrase “food chain” was kinda stuck in my brain. All good points on the rest. I think it’s funny that every time I do one of these industry-centric posts, you’re the only one who replies. I guess that officially makes you “my community” 🙂
Good luck on the tuition race. I hope all those kiddos give their daddy credit for working his booty off for them.
Get the message down first. Ask why.
Those two things seems so simple, but they too often get lost in the shuffle. But without them, everything else stands on shaky ground.
Kinda makes me sad that pretty much every time I ask “why” in a business context I get the blank stares. I guess that doesn’t happen naturally on its own. This is probably why I was never a good fit in corporate America. I’m like the queen of “why?” (directed at myself, for the most part though).