10 Things to learn from an Agency’s mistakes

A brand-agency relationship is based on following factors:

  • Man Power: Man management forms the core foundation of every organization. However, the strength behind a project may be determined by an agency on the basis of how big the brand is. Bigger brands will have bigger objectives and will pour more money. More the money, larger the team working on the project.

Most brands will never ask for profiles of the people working on their project. They will never know if experts work on their project or college interns. This is obviously the first mistake a brand makes when hiring an agency.

  •  Deliverables: During the pitch, an agency will throw impressive promises and set high expectations for the brand. These deliverables decide the relationship status between the two.
    1. Brands should never work on a contract basis with any agency.
    2. Brands should negotiate on the deadlines for deliverables provided by the agency.
    3. Brands should assess an agency’s performance on a monthly basis.
  •  Creativity: Simply maintaining brand presence on Social Media is not the task of an agency. Ideas to engage audience need to keep coming from the agency. It takes creative minds to come up with unique and brilliant campaigns to make a brand popular and interesting on Social Media.

If a brand must hire an agency, ask them a question: Who’s our creative head?

In recent years, Social Media has risen to a new level. It has earned the repute to be an excellent business prospect as well as a career opportunity to many. Numerous start-up agencies have surfaced recently with the motive of captivating social media space by roping in lesser known to top brands altogether.

Most top brands, such as MTV India and TATA Docomo, prefer an in-house model for their Social Media activities. Others will opt for an agency to represent them.

Note: As pointed out by one of the readers and thank you for doing so, Tata Docomo is indeed handled by an agency. The author apologizes and takes full responsibility for the error in the article.

There is nothing wrong with an agency handling a brand page. But there is everything wrong with the way it is handled. This article is all about

How Agencies work?

Let’s start with the following anecdote.

In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with creating multiple Facebook profiles. But what is with hiring someone to create 1000 Facebook profiles and why? Let your answers flow in the comment box below.

My guess is; 1000 Facebook profiles means 1000 fans in no time at all. BRANDS BEWARE. If there is another reason to it, the agency should just enlighten us with their reason. They will know we are talking about them, unless every agency does this.

Now that we started on the right foot, let us look at 4 mistakes that an agency like aforementioned will make on twitter:

  • Internal Seeding: Trending a hashtag is no rocket science. Every brand loves to see their hashtag trend. To trend a hashtag is an “ingenious idea” pitched to the brand initially. So how does an agency trend a hashtag and meet brand’s ROI.
    1. You start with 20 people sitting in the same room.
    2. You create a bulk load of content (tweets) and assign them to these people.
    3. You ask them to tweet from their personal accounts and retweet each other.

Like I said; no rocket science. Next time you see a brand hashtag trend, look out for the user profiles tweeting and retweeting them. You will find the same people over and over again.

  • Content Goof-ups: I have nothing to say here, but to show. This is one of the well-known Sweets brand (name withheld) tweeting from their account and a user’s reaction to it. (Screenshot taken from Plume)

  • Conversations: I causally stalked a brand page and here’s what I found out. Keyword is the key to a conversation.

If a Restaurant brand wants to converse with their audience, they will look for tweets with words such as food, hungry, starving, eat etc.

If a Real Estate brand wants to converse with their audience, they will look for tweets with words such as house, apartment, rent, shift, etc.

Again, I am not saying this is a wrong method to find conversations. Unless, you start doing what this Eye-Care brand (name withheld) does:

  • No relevance to conversations:

If you see the relevance of the question to what the user is saying, please educate me.

  • Repetitive conversations :

Changing words around does not alter the topic of discussion.

  •  Spamming with same questions:

This one was effortless. All I had to do was think like an intern. I searched an entire page for keyword “kind of” glasses, sunglasses, glares, eye contacts and so on. The result is as seen above.

The next one is for you to judge. Compare the multiple conversations based on what the user has tweeted and what the brand says.

  • Response time: Most brands will never reply immediately to a query. Try it out for yourself. One way to impress audience on twitter is quick response time. If a brand replies to a tweet one week old, the conversation is completely lost. The user will not remember what he tweeted a week ago. This is another common mistake I have seen brands make or possibly, the team working on it.

Real-time conversation is the key to effective conversation. Hence, in my opinion, he response time on Twitter should be 10 mins.

Brands should set a Twitter response time for the team handling their account.

Things to learn from an Agency’s mistakes

  1. Choosing a hashtag for the brand: Always opt for a Hashtag that does not radiate positive as well as negative message. Also, before finalizing a hashtag, always make sure that it has not been already used by anyone else.
  2. Research: Any hashtag tweeted without thorough research can get a brand in trouble. No brand would want to get in a conversation they do not belong too. 
  3. Avoid Controversies: Brands should never align themselves with any topic that is sensitive or will create a controversy.
  4. Avoid Errors: Spelling mistakes and wrong usage of grammar is a huge turn off. It can also become a hot topic of discussion among the audience and throw the brand in a negative limelight.
  5. Consistency: Brands carry their own persona on Social Media. Do not lose this personality. Keep your tone and manner healthy and consistent. Make sure that the brands associates with the hashtag you choose to tweet.
  6. Content is King: Your content will keep the audience hooked to you. Along with toned and polished language, appealing content is a must. As learnt from above examples, do not be boring and repetitive. Your content should stand for what your brand is.
  7. Timing: Hashtag launch has to be timed correctly, in spite of a complete research. Will the hashtag be perceived by the audience? Will the hashtag have any negative effect on the brand? Ask these questions before launching a hashtag. If there is a slightest doubt, the launch can wait for a better time.
  8. Respond: Real-time conversation is the most effective conversation. Positive or negative, never hesitate to respond and most importantly never delay your replies. Always acknowledge a user’s response irrespective of the sentiment of it.
  9. Apologize: Many brands will keep their hands off apologies. It does not work on Social Media. If sentiments are hurt, it is best to apologize immediately and appease the matter. Also, make sure the apology is sincere, not overdone and absolutely necessary.
  10. Conclude: Every hashtag campaign will have a lesson to be learnt. Successful or not, the campaign will give you valuable insight into your community. Note down the pros and cons, and mark the areas of improvement.

Twitter should be a walk in the park if brands follow above Ten Commandments. Hashtag is a great value addition for a brand’s marketing campaign. Use them wisely and results will follow.

Let me know what you guys think and if you have come across any such experiences as mentioned earlier.

Featured Image courtesy opensourceway


Uday Mane, best known to many as The Allegorist, is a Social Media expert, planner and consultant who works as a free-lancer. He eats, breathes and lives for his passion of story writing. He is nocturnal and spends most of his night working on romantic, dramatic, and murderous plots that he converts into short stories and publishes on his blog www.theallegorist.wordpress.com