In this post I’ll take a look at how agencies are evolving and how we should expect the landscape to shift.
As new junior hires come into agencies with social media firmly a part of their daily lives, we’re going to see fewer and fewer large social media teams. Instead we’re going to see digital skills more evenly distributed throughout PR teams. It will no longer be that social media campaigns will be run by scruffy-jean-hat-wearing-longhairs (oh hai!), but from directly within the PR function.
This means that social media will become more integrated with PR activities and we’ll see more well-rounded campaigns for brands, companies and organisations as a result.
There will continue to be social media specialists who act in a support role, kind of a hub unit, much in the way that you have a dedicated content team serving all parts of the agency, but the days of large dedicated teams are over.
I’ve already been in a position where I’ve advised clients to take certain elements of their social media activities in-house rather than pay an agency to do so. It makes far greater logistical sense for an in-house Community Manager to be the face of the organisation, rather than a detached agency person who is better placed to offer counsel. Having that detachment can help you spot opportunities you might miss if you’re at the coal face every day.
This streamlining is sensible financially too – you can hire a Community Manager for less than an agency equivalent. They will be able to build better relationships with the relevant functions of your business.
Agencies, be they digital specialists or PR with a digital function, have a great opportunity to continue growing and offering innovative solutions to clients. The trick will be to ensure that the right people are using their skillsets most effectively. To that end we’ll see that core digital hub consist of more than social media communicators: analysts, content experts and tech folks will start forming cohesive units in their own right that service all client teams, rather than being a part of the client team.
That’s good for clients: they get a better service. And, it’s good for agencies: they get to offer more integrated services. And, even better, it’s good for practitioners: we can focus on being experts at what we love doing.
What do you see for agencies in the next 12 months?