Many agencies have added social to their list of offerings. Some have added new people with specific skills to support/activate and engage social platforms. Other agencies just added social to the responsibilities of the media department.
That’s a big problem. Because social and digital are not the same.
A digital skillset involves software programming, interface design, content management, data management, analytics, media planning/buying, etc. That doesn’t mean you know anything about social.
When you are adept in the ways of Social Media, it’s also likely that you’re familiar with the technologies that support these communications. You understand the rules of engagement on Facebook; you know how to create a refined social advertising campaign; you can hop on CoTweet and know exactly what you’re doing; you’re focusing on the right metrics and deliver. That doesn’t mean you know anything about digital.
In good agencies, digital marketing services are organically integrated with Social Media. It doesn’t make it any less distinct a discipline.
The biggest difference: the mindset.
Digital and interactive are primarily either one-to-one or one-to-many communication forms.
Social is many-to-many communications. And that makes all the difference.
In one-to-one communication, the brand (in this case) knows what it wants to communicate, and perhaps has some idea about who it is talking to.
One-to-many communication is the most prevalent form of broadcast with the hope that the message is something that the target audience will appreciate and take action on.
Social is many-to-many, and here the crux is uncertainty. Brands may assume that they know what they are getting into, who they are talking to but they can’t predict the reaction.
Digital does not require any internal attitude change or rallying of other divisions – it is merely extending the brands’ communication into yet another broadcast media.
Social requires a different mindset and the understanding that brands are just incidental to the conversation online.
Apples and oranges.