Social media has or is changing everything, and advertising is no exception. The modern marketing agency doesn’t just account for social media: it has to proactively harness its powers on behalf of clients. Here are three ways that social media has changed everything about marketing and the face of the modern ad agency.
Authentic is In
When social media first started being a factor for brands, old advertising tactics were used. This was mostly accepted by early social media consumers because these advertisements fit what they already knew about marketing and advertising from print media and television.
The old tactics couldn’t work for long, though. The problem with social media is it’s lithe and flexible. It was practically effortless for competing brands to find a way into customer feeds, and buyers could jump easily to another brand based on a coupon or the opinion of another social media user. Where in 1984 the average consumer was seeing about 2,000 ads every day, by 2014 that number was 5,000.
The upshot of all this that ad agencies had to find a way to help brands pivot to take advantage of this new reality and still keep customer loyalty. This has led to brands becoming more “real” online. They talk and interact like normal people, feel accessible to their customers, and are helpful when problems arise. If they’re not, the shark pool that is social media tears them up quickly. A side effect of this reality is that a tiny startup has as good a shot at making a good impression via a Twitter account as the biggest behemoth company out there.
Social Media Has Outsourced Advertising
There have always and ad agencies and brands have always had the option of outsourcing their advertising. Social media and constant connectivity have spurred immense growth in the industry, however. Global spending on advertising is increasing at 4% a year, and in 2018 experts expect companies to spend nearly $558 billion on marketing.
What’s changed is that consumers are connected 24/7. Their online from the moment they wake up until long into the night and are even connected and connecting when they’re in the bathroom, when they’re eating, and when they’re at work. In the past advertisers could concentrate on one campaign and release it over a few media, like radio and print, and then had to sit back and watch for results.
Today, advertising is about interacting and reacting at every moment. Has someone had a bad experience with a brand? They’ll hashtag the company in their Twitter complaint and that bad review is out there for the whole world to see. The company had better jump on it instantly and deal with it in a transparent and helpful way. Consumers also expect immediate responses to inquiries and even casual mentions of a brand.
Advertising and responses have to be coordinated over an array of social media and online sites, and it takes a specialist army to get this done. In fact, one of the next challenges is identifying when there’s a real social crusade against a brand, and when bots are being programmed to make it appear that everyone is really angry over something. Respond to an “organic movement” that isn’t a real movement at all and you risk alienating your real-life customers.
Quality Is Everything
In a world where a dissatisfied customer can take it to a Facebook feed where it could be seen by thousands before it gets resolved, and where consumers expect honest reviews from real buyers–both positive and negative–on every item sold, even on a brand’s own website, it’s hard to get away with anything but the best.
Social media has pushed companies to become ever more accountable for what they sell, whether it be a product or a service, and increasingly transparent. In fact, it’s not enough anymore that a product be of good quality. It also has to be social responsible.
Whether you love or hate social media, you have to admit that it’s changing the way businesses operate: in many ways for the good.