Debate has raged since Facebook launched about who owns the social conversation. Should it be PR agencies, because as Andrew Bloch puts it in a recent article in Campaign because they “are the experts in telling the story, not selling the story”. Should it be Creative Agencies, because they can react quickest with content and creativity, plus they have some of the best writers in the business. Or should it be in-house agents working for the brand, as they are closest to the brand heartbeat.
To tell you the truth, on reading all the different cases put forward by all the different areas, the question isn’t “who owns the social conversation”, but actually should it really matter? Sadly, Bloch’s article highlights the fundamental lack of understanding of social media and social conversation by talking about them “controlling” the conversation. Surely, this misses the point somewhat that social media conversation is difficult to control and the struggle that PR have is the adaptability when the conversation gets “off message”.
Anyway, I’m not criticising Bloch, my point is that there is no need for one person, one agency type to own the conversation. It doesn’t really matter. There are so many different elements of social that each agency can find its own field and adapt. There are some great modern PR exponents of this, Dan French at Clifford French, Zac Schwarz at Shine, to name a couple I have worked with and know well.
But then there are some great creatives who understand what can drive social conversation and we are lucky to have two here at The Brooklyn Brothers, Ali Alvarez and Cali Oliver.
A couple of years ago 2008, I created this very, very, very simple triangle of where I thought social media was at. I still think it applies and giving the desire to pick “who owns the social conversation” perhaps it helps somewhat. But then again who cares.