Social media is going out of fashion. Not really because there’s anything wrong with many-to-many media platforms. Quite the contrary in fact. These platforms represent enormous potential. No, instead it’s because of the misunderstanding of what this type of platform can be used for in our jobs as business consultants (Yes, that’s what we are. Not clowns).
Why Millions of Views are Worhless By Themselves
Let’s face it – racking up bought YouTube views, spam-clicked (or “seeded” in agency lingo) by child laborers in sweat shops doesn’t sell any product. Period. Putting up cheeky case film-friendly Facebook-ideas doesn’t either. If you had seen the result graphs I’ve been shown on iPhone 4s in dark pub corners by deep throats in black hats (I somehow seem to be the favorite point of contact for these people) you’d be amazed. If you’ve ever wondered why the standard answer on questions involving the word “ROI” often float out into pink clouds like the “let’s not underestimate the power of fun” or “your brand needs to join the conversation”, the answer lies in this simple fact: Agencies don’t yet understand how to turn people lol-ing to their fun little films into paying customers.
Jesper Åström on Billing Relationships
Yesterday my colleague and business partner Jesper Åström was the keynote speaker at The Bring Dialogue Conference 2010 in Strömstad. The title of his provocative talk was Social Media Money, but the topic was really about how to create billing relationships – the exact topic that keeps account managers awake at night trying to figure out how to persuade their client that their next “fun viral” is a great idea. I say provocative because if you think about this for a bit you realize that there’s quite a bit of discrepancy between what you see in advertising awards shows at the moment and the topic of billing relationships. I wonder if this term has ever been uttered in Cannes (except when talking about the agency-client relationship).
Jesper went into topics like how social persuasion mechanisms are enabled through platforms like Facebook and how to use metrics and open source data mining to drive buying behavior. He also went into more tactical stuff like his 5 C’s of viral marketing that are part of the everyday vocabulary at Honesty by now, and also the topic of his upcoming book.
A Performance Agency Relationship
My vision for Honesty is that we should be the most expensive agency around, but that we should be worth every penny. That means we nee to provide the highest ROI for each Dollar paid to us. Since clients are not idiots, there is really only one way to achieve this in the long term, and that is by showing REAL results. Not YouTube views, not Gold Lions, but sales and hard cash. To demonstrate results like that we measure everything and always strive to have performance based sections built into our business relationship.
If you’re a client of some agency reading this I strongly encourage you to have this built into your agency relationship as well, but don’t fall for the trap of using metrics like “views” or other fluff that doesn’t directly and visibly correlate to your earnings. There is a lot of cheating going around (look for hidden development graphs as a clue for example). Look for metrics like engagement and conversion rates instead, because at the end of the day, you will get what you measure.
This blog is written by Walter Naeslund and has been around since 2007. The blog is about the journey of starting an advertising agency and a sneak peek behind the scenes of what goes on at the Honesty HQ in SoFo, Södermalm. It is also a blog about communication & technology. The blog has gathered almost a thousand posts over the years with several longer and shorter breaks. Welcome and enjoy.