Who will ultimately win the social media land grab?

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The answer is INCREDIBLY obvious.

No-one.

The reason is even MORE obvious.

Social media is underpinned by many principals, but two are particularly important, especially in relation to this issue:

Collaboration and sharing

And ‘land grabbing’ undermines these core values.

Frustratingly, the stumbling block lies (no pun intended) with everyone involved in the process, caused by a combination of fear and a shortage of knowledge / understanding.

And, the tough year that many agencies have had to endure is also a factor.

But, is every disciplined equipped for every brief…really?!?

Personally, I think it comes back to using the right people for the right job, and as social media activity can take the form of many guises, the entire communications industry has a role to to play in assisting clients with strategy, creativity and delivery.

In fact, social media can be THAT broad that in many cases each discipline will be required to work SEAMLESSLY TOGETHER to maximise the investment for clients.

I could make a case for each discipline (and I’m sure some will make a case for dedicated social media agencies), but seeing as that I come from a PR background I thought I’d bring my argument to life with the following example.

One element of the mix: compelling content

I truly believe the discipline best equipped to help brands create ‘compelling content’ is PR.

Now, before you get too excited, I’m just looking at one element of the social media mix to highlight how everyone can and does have a role to play.

Why PR? Well, of all the marketing disciplines, PR is the only one that creates content designed to be adopted by a third party i.e. the media.

For everything else, you must pay to have your message communicated to your audience.

Now, in no way am I saying that PR is the single ‘custodian’ of content – I’m simply saying that the best PRs can adapt / craft content in a very efficient and effective way.

Clearly, in the case of social media, a different approach is required compared to the one adopted for ‘traditional’ media.

It needs to more intimate, it needs to speak the language of the people using the tools, and it must never ‘sell’.

But, I truly believe (and have seen it in action) that the good PRs can make a serious claim of being best equipped to create content of this nature (and this is not ‘land grabbing’ btw, hopefully illustrated by what you’ve read so far and the next sentence).

But comes back to my initial points: in order to deliver the best results for the client, agencies MUST collaborate and share and do the things they are good at doing…and again, the ‘good ones’ are doing just that.

Compelling? Maybe. Common sense? Definitely.

What do you think? Is one discipline better placed than the other? Is it a matter having the right people, with the right experience in place depending on the brief? Does anyone really know the answer?

Drop your comments in the box below.

Cheers
AV

1 Comment

  • Reply December 11, 2009

    Jeff Esposito

    Great post Adam. I think that the mix is very important and to trly incorporate SM into a company, everyone needs to be willing to collaborate.

    I agree as well that it should be PR handling it because in most companies the PR team is the only one that plays and works across channels nicely.

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