Why Social Media Strategists and Media Buyers Need to Be Partners

Today, social media strategists need to work closely with media buyers, or the opportunities to take advantage of social’s full power will potentially slip through the cracks.

The evolution of social media has moved at lightning speed.

In the early days of social platforms like Twitter and Facebook, attracting followers and building mindshare required less effort (and money) than today. After all, there was far less noise, and everyone involved was trying and testing new models that took advantage of organic reach.

Given the fact that this technology was so new, traditional ad agencies kept social media strategists in silos where they were left to craft and execute their plans in a vacuum, away from the rest of the team. In the early days of social media, this siloed approach seemed to make sense.

As social media has evolved and become increasingly crucial for brands of all types, organic reach of social has plummeted to less than 2 percent of all reach, down from previous highs of 14 percent to 20 percent, according to our research.

The drop in organic reach has led to the need for more paid social strategies in order to garner reach. Coupled with that is the proliferation of social channels, which need to be evaluated, understood, activated and optimized. Meeting these twin challenges requires more open, creative and collaborative thinking–not the approach agencies have relied on thus far.

Today, social media strategists need to work closely with media buyers, or the opportunities to take advantage of social’s full power will potentially slip through the cracks. In many cases, whether driving engagement, building followers or seeking conversions is the goal, paid campaigns are often the only way to see significant results. And the best results are achieved when media strategies are integrated.

Ad agencies need to think about and manage social media differently in order to be successful. Here are four ways agencies can use paid social to deliver the best results for their clients:

  1. A new partnership model: Much like the classic ad agency partnership of art directors and copywriters, social media strategists and media buyers need to work together to succeed in social. For more than 50 years, copywriters and art directors have sat in a room and worked together. Fast-forward to the present and this is how we should be thinking about social media strategists and media buyers. These are two integral roles that need to work closely together.
  2. Finding the middle ground between the need for an editorial calendar and the need for opportunistic posts: Social editorial calendars used to rule content development. Today we hear about some brands that have gone to the other extreme–throwing away editorial calendars completely. It’s time to find a middle ground. Brands need to be both opportunistic and thoughtful when it comes to mapping out their content strategies.
  3. Media buying should be about expressions, not just impressions: As our tools to buy media advance, simple reach and frequency calculations alone are not enough for truly effective buys. By partnering with their social counterparts, media buyers can get detailed about how, where and how effectively their message is delivered.
  4. Optimize media plans: Make sure your team has the experience and knowledge to know how and when to optimize media plans. If that part of the strategy isn’t done correctly, a lot of money and staff time will be wasted. In a medium that moves so fast, we should balance shorter-term analytics gains with longer-term brand goals. Hitting the middle ground here is as much art as it is science.

Advertising agencies need to rethink how they create and execute social media campaigns–the old way of thinking will drastically slow down brands trying to get ahead on social. Partnerships that bring together the various disciplines within an agency deliver benefits to all involved, enriching the process and delivering better results.

MichaelAaron Flicker is the president of advertising and strategic marketing agency XenoPsi.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.