It’s a story that’s all too familiar to us all. Businesses led by leadership teams who have not immersed themselves within, or spent enough time understanding social media. But, despite knowing they should have a presence on social media, and probably be advertising on social too, they try to execute in the wrong way – “my daughter spends hours on Instagram and Facebook. We should probably advertise there!”

Then comes the debate of who should we get to do it. The answer we hear: “get the grad to do it. She’s grown up on social media. She’ll know what to do!”

Here’s the kicker: unless she’s in the top 1% of industry talent and aced her marketing qualifications, then she won’t! How many traditional strategists bounced out of university and blew you away with their creative production and media buying knowledge? The theoretical knowledge gained during tuition is important but it also requires experience for the talent to evolve into a well-rounded marketeer.

And please don’t misunderstand the sentiment of this blog. I like nothing more than seeing graduates flourish – we have our own super successful intern programme here. One of our most gifted account managers was an intern only 12-months ago. This blog is a moan against the businesses, and their leadership teams, who don’t support their digital marketing initiatives with the same level of respect, direction and knowledge that they do across other marketing mediums.

If you were contemplating shaping an above-the-line campaign would you say: “give it to the graduate, she’s grown up watching commercials. She knows how to use a TV!” Of course you wouldn’t. You would ensure you had a suitably experienced team to:

  • Shape strategic direction
  • Define target audience
  • Detail your media buying plan
  • Produce the creative assets
  • Craft heavyweight copy for scripts and supporting assets

In short, you would appoint the right talent and partners to deliver. So WHY, for all the posts on Facebook, do leaders decide none of this is required for social?

A medium that know stands toe-to-toe with TV reach, BUT without the wastage. There’s a reason why TV show sponsorship has grown in popularity; we all fast-forward through adverts (when viewing on-demand), but as soon as we see the Tui Travel i-dent, we know our Sky 1 show is about to restart. Anyone catch the adverts in between? Nope, didn’t think so.

The targeting available throughout the media buying functions of each social media channel are potent. You can hone in on your target audience, and you can even pre-book Reach and Frequency campaigns to help manage cost and return forecasts. However, if you’ve not appointed the right talent and partners to map your:

  • Strategic direction
  • Channel strategy
  • Content strategy
  • Media buying plan with defined:
    • Reach and Frequency
    • Ad type by channel – when to use Canvas versus Stories or Carousel
    • Advert sequencing for ‘contextual storytelling’
    • Use of attribution window to define ‘call back’ metrics
  • Social-first creative production
  • Social-first copy production
  • Defined measurement and tracking plan
  • Accurate investment plan, with defined returns for the Board to show what ‘good looks like’

…then ask yourself. Will the graduate know how to do it?

Graduates possess much talent, hunger and drive. Good graduates have a wonderful appetite to learn and many have excellent recall – the ability to see or hear something once and remember it. However, most need to be shown the above at least once. I’m yet to see a super talented newbie who can shotgun an effective go-to-market strategy that defines each of the above bullets to a level that a Board director would happily sign off on.

Social media is the undoubted future of marketing. It’s also the now. If you’re not supporting your digital teams in the right fashion, then please do take a step back and consider the points raised. Your talent deserves direction and nurturing. Give them the best chance to become one of industries finest on social. There’s no shame in bringing a partner on-board to help advance business knowledge. After all, you’ve been doing this for traditional channels for decades!

Be smart. Support your young social media talent. They’re your marketing future!

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