I have found it disturbing how little ad agency people know about social media. Old folks in ad agencies think they should put all their corporate clients (OK, nearly all) into hot social networks that their children inhabit, such as FaceBook, Second Life, etc. Like buy IBM computers or Microsoft software in the past, it is a safe move.
But to do it endlessly and automatically is stupid. And it reflects a deep lack of awareness by the ad agency people on who their clients really are and where they need to be place, both online and in print.
If you’re a corporate manager, David Armano over at Logic+Emotion has a set of questions you might want to ask of your ad agencies that ferret out a more sophisticated view toward social media. There’s no quaranty that positive answers on all ten will get you what you want but at least you’ll get a digital native, not a digital immigrant, who knows the media deeply.
David’s ten questions to ad execs are:
1. Do you read blogs. Which ones? 2. Do you have a personal blog? What’s it about? 3. Do you participate in at least one social network? Which one? 4. Have you ever uploaded a video online? What did you use to do it? 5. What’s your favorite search engine. Why? 6. Have you ever used an online classified service like craigslist? 7. Besides making phone calls—how else do you use your mobile phone? 8. Have you ever registered a domain name? 9. Do you use social bookmarks or tagging? 10. Do you use a feed reader of some sort? Which one? Why?
“Yes” answers will indicate an ad agency person who at least understands digital media, participates in it and feels at home in it. If you’re lucky you might even get one who understands print as well and knows where to put clients (hint, if you’re in the b-2-b business and your ad agency wants to put you in Second Life and FaceBook, ask why).