Since Facebook’s launch in 2004, social media has grown from teenagers discussing their weekends, to enabling businesses to create and grow their brand identity. The evolution of social media- in a short seventeen years- highlights how fast-paced the market is. There is no sign of it slowing either, as Statista found in 2020 over 3.6 billion people were using social media, with the trajectory on the incline.
How social media has been viewed
Businesses, including creative agencies, have realised the need for social in their business plans. However, there are still questions about their value. The familiar, ‘but why do we need to use them,’ ‘what will be the ROI,’ ‘do we really need it? We can just use the connections we have’ – all valid questions and ones that can be hard to measure and monetise. Social media impacts behaviours psychologically rather than analytically, so over the years it has been difficult to put numbers in front of the argument for using them.
The same can be said for social media ‘jargon’ that is thrown into discussions, from ‘impressions’, ‘engagement’, ‘reach’ and ‘hashtags,’ it has become another language. However, with improvements in analytics and better understanding of algorithms. This ‘jargon’ is now being added to marketing vocabulary with increased discussions around the themes.
The reality of how social media can impact your agency
The overriding impact of social media for businesses is the ability to showcase your brand. This in turn will lead to consumers using your business over another. Social media is not just a platform that you should understand for your clients, but one which you should use for your own development. As Neil Patel highlights, the measurements for seeing this ROI are ongoing analytics and campaign-focused metrics, depending on your activity. It is down to your business to create your own awareness and manage perceptions.
Marketing, particularly since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, has accelerated its move to digital. At Gosling, we have been creating virtual spaces for events (see our 360° spaces blog), creating strategies to implement client’s businesses digitally and all whilst following the constant wheel of innovation within the digital world. This innovation is clear to see, as Mediakix noted, platforms such as TikTok have brought constant growth in the last year. It has created competition for more established platforms, like Instagram, increasing the need to always be ahead of the game. This then filters down to the users where we need to be aware of the platforms developments to enable us to utilise them and align with the algorithms.
The need for social media has never been more prevalent and here’s why and how it can benefit your agency in 2021:
Innovation is moving at lightning speed, so being relevant is crucial for clients.
In a world where social updates and new features are a regular occurrence, it is key to learn and understand them. Being relevant will allow you to learn how people use the platforms and this will help with your own innovative ideas and content. Having this knowledge will help your agency to be knowledgeable when pitching ideas to clients. Alongside this, brand awareness is also benefited as you are brought to the top of social algorithms when using the updates. You reach different people through your social relevance and you become known within your own specialisms. Win win!
Asking in your office if people have at least one social media account and we are positive that everyone will say yes. Highlighting the obvious, that there is great potential for lead generation. Jonathan Kirk found that 93% of clients have a LinkedIn account, making it a fantastic place for business development to happen. With Kinsta noting that, LinkedIn is 277% more successful at generating leads than Twitter or Facebook. Ensuring that you are active, posting and re-sharing are key ways to improve your business’ development.
Changes in target audience
As Global Web Index found, social media was once seen as a ‘young persons’ thing.’ It was only when parents started taking over Facebook that there was a shift in perception. With this, it has been shown that in the past year, there has been a surge in older demographics users across all social platforms. The target audience has now shifted, there is a consumer market which agencies can now see benefit in targeting. There are genuine leads to be generated and great potential to reach your specific clientele.
It’s right there, in the palm of your hands or with the click of a mouse, the ability to ask questions and get feedback from an audience who are choosing to follow you. Utilising the ability to talk, generate conversation and retrieve answers should be a high priority. If you are posting about the wrong thing, your followers will be able to tell you this (or you will see it from the lack of engagement).
If done correctly, the platforms are a wealth of knowledge. Understand your audience, your niche and learn how to grow.
Designers are showcasing their work across platforms, companies are broadcasting their creativity through socials, there is learning to be taken from what people are saying. For a creative agency, from the designers to the marketing team, there are so many chances to capitalise on your current understanding of the market. What you find can be motivational and inspirational. You want your agency’s social accounts one that people share, like and talk about. It’s a chance to show off your agency’s creativity.
There are few rules, so be bold
As The Drum notes, CEO of D&AD, Tim Lindsay, put it perfectly: “Social platforms will change with the times but genuine creativity will always be the driving force for success and it will never die.”
THE social savvy breakdown
Great for business-to-business marketing and connecting with your counterparts. Sometimes not seen as ‘social media’ but it is great for client interactions, showcasing your business acumen and thought leadership.
Fantastic way to showcase your creative work, showing the personality behind the business, informal chats, understanding your audience.
Facebook + Twitter
Platforms where you connect with your customers, a great asset for companies selling products. Not as important for creative agencies, but always good to have an active account.
Mediakix suggests that this platform will overtake Instagram, it is great for creatives and video montages, similarly to Instagram it is an opportunity to show your personality and have fun.