In a recent AdWeek article, Christopher Heine posed an interesting question: are social media agencies disappearing?
It’s an intriguing, if not thought provoking, question because it was not that long ago that social media agencies were all the rage. They were the new kid on the block. They were sexy, shiny and leading the charge, while PR and ad agencies were seen as the old guard who were being left behind.
And for awhile, there was little doubt that social media agencies met the markets’ expectations and needs. A growing number of companies were scrambling to get on the social media bandwagon, and social media agencies were offering the right services at the right time, while many PR and ad agencies were scrambling to stay relevant.
So, what’s happened over the past year or so? Why are social media agencies losing their lustre?
I think it may have a lot to do with how brands have grown tired of dealing with multiple agencies to meet their marketing needs. Many brands don’t want to deal with a PR, ad and social media agency, who have different agendas and mandates.
Instead, brands are looking for fewer suppliers. In the meantime, many PR and ad agencies have created or acquired social media practices so they can meet the needs of clients while offering them a wide variety of services.
As well, brands have discovered that social media can’t operate in a vacuum. A social campaign is driven by creative – be it content, apps or ads – and having a PR or ad agency makes this a lot easier rather than dealing with multiple suppliers.
This is not to suggest the standalone social media agencies is going to disappear but they will find it difficult to stay competitive unless they are really good at what they do.
There is too much competition from PR, ad and digital agencies, so social media agencies are going to suffer because they can’t offer the same range of services.