Clients taking control of social media

7 January 2013

NEW YORK: Brand owners including Nike, The Campbell Soup Company and Ford are taking closer control of their official social media accounts, leaving agencies with more specific duties to perform.

According to Marketing Week, Nike, the sportswear giant, will primarily handle its core activity on such sites in-house, having previously enjoyed success working with shops like Wieden+Kennedy, AKQA and R/GA.

This followed a review initiated by Musa Tariq, Nike's recently-appointed senior director, social media and community. Tariq was hired from luxury specialist and digital pioneer Burberry.

Mark Parker, Nike's CEO, told analysts last month it was pursuing an "interrelated" approach across social networks, communications and commerce to build a "two way dialogue with consumers".

He added: "We are strengthening the relationship we have with the consumer, certainly through our communications, but also through the commerce side of things, and then, of course, the product and the services piece, which is in its infancy stages right now, but we expect big things."

Campbell Soup, the food group, has taken a similar path, assuming control of social strategy, planning, community management and analytics, alongside liaising closely with agencies on such subjects.

"To be digitally fit, you need to be nimble and move at the pace of your consumers," Adam Kmiec, the company's director of global digital marketing and social media, told DigiDay.

"Right now, one of the best ways to do that is to understand your consumer. And to do that you need to have social hardwired in your organisation. It can't be an add-on or something you simply outsource."

Ford, the automaker, also employs a mixed model. The firm sets strategy itself, and utilises agencies to deal with blogger and influencer outreach, managing communities and conducting some analytics.

"Determining whether an agency should handle your social media or not really depends on the level of trust," Scott Monty, its social media manager, said.

"Whether you are using an agency or in-house staff, it is essential for the team to be as up to date or up to speed with what's happening in social media ... Sometimes when you just have a dedicated team in-house, handling it all, it becomes difficult to stay up to speed."

For its part, Pinterest, the social media site, created its "30 Days of Pinspiration" holiday campaign in-house, tapping links with brands like Starbucks, the coffee house chain, Southwest, the air carrier, and Patagonia, the outdoor clothing company.

"We wanted to showcase great ideas for inspiration over the holidays," said Annie Ta, its corporate communications manager, in a blog post. "We're blown away by how people and organisations use Pinterest and this holiday season was no different."

Data sourced from Marketing Week, DigiDay, Business Week, Pinterest; additional content by Warc staff