Social media must be grounded in strategy

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BtoB: Which interactive areas are growing the most at your agency?
Mike Tittel: We have seen increased client interest in search and analytics, followed by social media and rich media content. Search and analytics lead the pack. Marketers are under increasing pressure to justify and maximize budgets. The same holds true for social media. B-to-b marketers are beginning to understand the value of increased social engagement. The online video explosion has driven the end-user's consumption requirements for rich online content. Repackaging a client's static content into new formats for distribution represents opportunity for renewed customer engagement—and makes limited budgets work harder.
BtoB: How is your agency handling Web 2.0 services, such as social media?

Tittel: It is imperative that digital media approaches are grounded in a strategic platform or clear objective. “Shotgun” social media doesn't work any better than shotgun marketing does. More important, given the scalability of social media, it can quickly chink the armor of a brand if done without forethought. This is why we stress the importance of bringing both public relations and interactive to the table in social media discussions. Doing so helps us define digital media strategies that marry user experience, precise audience targeting and rich content.
BtoB: What types of skills are you looking for in your interactive hires (and cross-training for traditional types)?

Tittel: Years ago, you wanted to hire people who were, first and foremost, experts in their fields of interactive expertise and, secondly, hoped they were decent team players. Now, it is all about people who can collaborate and are great evangelists of digital. The five “must haves” for interactive employees are: Be a “user”; be passionate; be collaborative; be a digital expert; and be curious.
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