Thanks to the initiative by Prateek, Harmanjit & Kalpana #SMDelMeetup was organized on 7th June at Connaught Place. This meetup finally gave me an opportunity to meet Prateek, which was pending for last three years or so. The meetup was attended by few other social media champs – Anadi, Ankur and Ayushi. I felt the small group led to more discussions rather than get a huge crowd and not getting a chance to meet everyone. As it happens in every meetup, it all started with introduction and ofcourse grabbing a chilled coffee to beat the summer heat. Gradually everyone started sharing their experiences of working on various brands / campaigns etc. and it was was fun.
I could sieve some learning out of this meetup which are listed below:
- Wide gap in the retainers charged by various social media agencies: It was discussed that how could some agencies charge so exorbitantly just in the name of being from a large international group. The question was how can small businesses afford so much? My two cents on this was that be it any industry, products/services are available across a wide price range. The target audience differs with reference to the quality of services provided, overhead costs, positioning etc. Instead of considering that big agencies are squeezing cash out of brands, it should be seen that how this industry has provided an entrepreneurial opportunity to many professionals who could serve brands at lower rung with smaller budgets and still make a difference to the industry / society.
- Funny blunders that brand managers ask agencies to commit on social media platforms: This was funniest topic and left each one of us giggling for minutes. Blunders ranged from client asking agencies to delete a post (though it attracted good engagement) just because the image ‘doesn’t look’, crazy revisions that clients ask agencies to do on copy and images, complaints of offline goofups not addressed on social media, organizing social media contests without any logic etc. No matter how much social media agencies push back the client and suggest them the ideal method, there are always some ‘smart brand managers’ who think they know everything in social media.
- Unethical practices by some social media agencies: This was a shocker for me. I heard that some agencies edit the CSV file of Facebook ad reports and bill clients more though the actual spend on ad campaigns was far less. Some agencies charged few thousand rupees for changing the Facebook cover page and icing on cake is, the image was provided by client (beat that!)! Agencies provide some affiliate services to clients and charge exorbitant markup on the actual cost. The agencies could be doing these with a business reason, but the link of ethics should not be crossed!
- Increasing focus on blogger outreach campaigns: ‘Blogger Outreach’ is the latest jazz on social media circuits for brand managers. Every brand wants to do a blogger outreach campaign, irrespective of whether it is relevant or not. On the other hand, social media agencies too include this campaign as part of pitch or deliverables to mint some more money. I have a strong opinion here that most agencies and brand managers are missing the point that just having thousands of followers doesn’t make a person influencer of a product category. Just organizing some offline event, inviting people who have thousands of followers, asking them to tweet continuously and gifting (Read ‘bribing’) them with expensive gifts, doesn’t mean you have earned ‘influencers’. Park this thought for a while till I pen down my follow-up blogpost with more details on this.
- B2B relationship building through social media channels: Ayushi, the young champ raised this question of how could B2B brands build relationship. My take was that businesses are done by human beings, doesn’t matter if its B2B or B2C. What matters is if vendor’s people are active on social media channels and building relationship with the prospective client side people. It does take months to strike the chord, but there is no shortcut! This reminded us the concept of ‘Social Selling’.
- More brands trying to build in-house social media team: This trend was observed by many meetup attendees. The reasons for this trend could be multifold – a) brands want to save retainer cost and have a better financial equation if its done in-house, b) brands think that this is something they can manage on their own (though the risks aren’t accounted for), c) agencies have fooled brands enough with all unethical practices etc.
I rarely attend meetups, however this was a great learning experience. As Prateek said, we should do this regularly may be once in 2/3 months to share our experiences and learn from each other. No matter, how strongly we guys are connected on social media, its always a different experience to meet those people behind the fancy Twitter handles, in real life and spend some time with them. I look forward to the next edition of #SMDelMeetup.