The other day Alan Wolk wrote an interesting post about the new breed of social media agencies and how they are viewed by more traditional consultancies (see also this related post by Gloria Tiphereth on her Digital Tips blog.)
Though there's definitely a valid discussion to be had about the pros and cons of specialist agencies like this, I wonder if it's possible to go overboard with a niche.
I'm referring in particular to articles in econsultancy and the Financial Times about a consultancy (Twitter Partners) having been started specifically to look after brands on Twitter, which judging from their website has already pulled in some first tier names.
To me, setting up an agency solely to help brands on Twitter (as opposed to Laurel Papworth's model of using Twitter to create a virtual agency), just doesn't work on a number of levels.
First of all, as Patricio Robles says in his econsultancy piece, you can't 'do' Twitter:
"Brands, media companies and celebrities that decide to join the conversation on Twitter cannot insulate their Twitter strategy from the rest of their media strategy. Successful use of social media has to be holistic and integrated with a broader media strategy. "
Secondly, I'm bothered by the fact that basically, it's tapping into the gold rush mentality combined with the general fog of confusion - a dangerous cocktail at the best of times.
So should you register your Twitter ID? Most certainly. Should you monitor what's being said about you on Twitter? Absolutely yes.
But should you start tweeting? Well, that depends. What have you got to say? Plus given the fact that they are largely free, can't all the tools used to monitor and take part in Twitter be dealt with by your in-house marketing department, or yes - your existing agencies.
On that note, it's finally worth covering off the fact that my day job involves running an agency so I'm aware that I'm not a neutral bystander here and lay myself open to the charge of sour grapes and / or bad form.
To go back to Alan Wolk's post about specialist social media agencies: Whatever I think of the sector as such, I fully recognise that many companies are run by good people with track records of getting results.
Zeroing in just on Twitter however just seems to be a step too far, and one that makes little sense. Like Patricio Robles in his econsultancy article I actually had to do a double take to make sure this was for real.
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