Sports and Social Media - Why Should Agencies Care?

Today is the seventh in a series of posts (a new post each day) with thoughts from some pretty smart folks to try to answer the question of why people should care about the intersection of sports and social media. You can see the first six posts below:

Even if you already know why this is important, I hope you enjoy getting a variety of perspectives on this subject. If you have bosses, colleagues or friends that still don't get it, maybe they'll find some value in this series if you share it with them.

Today's topic is agencies. It's agencies' jobs to understand clients' business goals and bring new, innovative ideas for marketing, promotions and partnerships to their clients to help them achieve these goals. They need to understand how social media can be leveraged to support overall marketing and business objectives.

With all the social media platforms available, fans are creating and consuming content in a variety of ways, and agencies need to understand this. Agencies need to bring ideas for sponsorships and promotions that enable fans to interact with the companies running them and the content that exists as a part of them. Most importantly, they need to understand how to measure the results. Old metrics such as reach and frequency are outdated. Actions and engagement are what really matter. Agencies need to be able to navigate the sports/social media waters, so they can lead their clients in the right direction.

See below for a variety of thoughts from other smart folks about why agencies should care about sports and social media.

Jackie Adkins - If all of these other interested parties care, then you need to care, too. You need to go beyond simply using it and knowing about it, but be able to educate your clients on how to use it effectively.

Dennis Allen - Lots of today’s branding does not go through traditional media. They need to know where the fans are going to get their content. How to talk to them through the various mediums. They also need to know what is hot and what is not. What is everyone talking about? So they do not miss the mark with their branding and corporate messaging.

Anthony De Rosa - Agencies care more and understand social media second only to the generation that grew up on it. They have to because it's the future of marketing. If you can reach 500 million people on Facebook, why waste money advertising on more traditional formats where you reach far less and in a passive way?

Ash Read - Social media gives agencies the opportunity to position themselves as field experts, drive sales, network and stay up-to-date with the latest trends – in short, social media can have big benefits for agencies. In my opinion one of the key benefits for agencies is the ability to position themselves as field experts, this can be done through blogs, Linkedin, Twitter, to name a few. The key is to share good content and build conversation with people within the industry and potential clients.

Brian Gainor - Agencies should invest time and resources in social media because it is clearly an X-factor that can have an impact on their clients’ business, winning new business, and creating holistic business solutions. Social media serves as a cost-effective channel to drive conversation and brand relevancy, promotional/web traffic, and direct/indirect revenue streams. Agencies can pad their experiential/digital/PR competencies with social media solutions that drive results and help brands make an immediate splash in the marketplace. Consumers now expect companies to have Facebook pages, LinkedIn profiles, YouTube Channels, and Twitter handles – so if you are not playing in this space, you are under delivering.

Brian Reich - Agencies should care about social media because utilizing it well on behalf of their clients is the only hope for their survival. In the past, agencies were hired to help market products and athletes to consumers on behalf of leagues and teams. They were put in the middle to help create a connection and translate an important message. But in the digital age, with the tools widely for all to use, we don't need help to make connections. Teams, leagues, athletes and fans can connect directly -- and there is no need to translate anything when there is an open, trusted, genuine relationship being developed. Of course, there is a lot of work left to do to help the leagues and teams and athletes understand what fans want, and how to support their interests... so agencies can help to educate their clients about the changing nature of communications and the potential power that social media provides. And in some cases, ,there will still be a need for agencies to help manage the efforts as well. For now.

Russell Scibetti - Agencies should care because social media needs to be a part of any company's marketing mix, and this includes the events and properties that they represent. Their corporate clients are ultimately looking to increase revenue and improve their brand value, and actively engaging the fans through their sponsorships is an important part of that process. Outside of the actual game day experience, social media is the most "active" and engaging communication option they can leverage.

Trevor Turnbull - Agencies have two choices. Stick with the old traditional agency model and slowly become obsolete. Or, incorporate social media into their campaigns and thrive. Traditional media is not going anywhere, but, not including social media into client campaigns means missing out on a massive opportunity to drive offline traffic to online platforms that allow for further communication and relationship building between agency clients and their target audience.


Now it's your turn - why do you think agencies should care?

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post, which will examine why properties should care about social media/sports.