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Social media - wow! I could write days over days about social media from so many perspectives, which will actually happen during the days to come, however, in this article My interest in social media is from a communications, marketing and new business perspective.
As I have entered this new and young industry of social media, I immediately saw the potential that social media can provide for small-to midsize ad agencies, businesses in general, the concept of branding and so forth. That's why I have always encouraged my fellow advertising agencies and business owners and entrepreneurs to get involved as fast as possible with this "treasure chest" of opportunities.
Although i believe that social media is having great impact upon advertising and marketing, however, Broadcast, outdoor, print, direct mail, radio are not going to go away, however, I see that as one of the primary benefits to social media. It is not what a brand means to the company or what your agency's brand means to you, it's what it means to the consumer, to your prospective clients.

Perhaps the reason so many agencies have difficulty with their own branding is that they are in their own silo without the point of view from their prospective clients.
Moreover, Social media is time intensive but it is affordable and allows us to learn so much from our audiences. Social media allows us to tap into the minds of our audiences like anything I have ever seen before.
Social media provides advertising and marketing agencies/clients with affordable research on an even grander scale than we've ever been able to conduct in the past and it is almost instant feedback. It is affordable, timely and easier to measure than traditional media.

This is why I believe social media will be the hub to our entire advertising/marketing. From broadcast to direct. We can engage our audience and know what messages are appealing, what resonates. We can do it quickly and that info will provide the epiphanies and "ah-ha" moments when we know we have that valuable nugget for a successful campaign.
Social media is not only important for our clients and their brands. It is important for an advertising agency's brand. I encourage you to understand and use it for your agency before attempting to use it for clients as for me and the Digital Essence, It is one of the best tools I have ever used in helping advertising agencies with their own branding.

It compels us to do new business the way we should have been doing it all along. It forces us to lead with benefits, to create an appealing brand from our client's perspective. To be successful with social each advertising agency will have to narrow its focus, declare who they are, how they are different.
Globally, now with social media, business as well as advertising agencies can actively engage and research their customer around the globe, the list of challenges gets long quite quickly.

Understanding how international social media efforts can work well is a big challenge for these brands. Different regions present entirely new social networks, languages, cultural expectations and many more barriers for marketing teams to overcome.
Emerging markets, like those in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA region), are an especially tough nut to crack for many global brands. Understanding what consumers in the MENA region want from social brands is a completely different challenge than in the US and other western countries.

In these markets, perceptions and expectations of businesses can greatly differ from those in markets where they have been operating for many years or decades.
Some excellent studies have been undertaken about social media usage in the MENA region, but many of them tend to dwell on the fact that social media users are much more likely to share their views on politics and community related matters than users in other countries. .

Whilst this is fascinating and useful information in itself, it casts very little light on how MENA consumers talk online about brands which finally, manifests one main conclusion, there is still miles of road to go when it comes to social media and that for many years to come, only time will reveal the full opportunities of social media as well as its "true colors"