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July 9th, 2009

Add-on or value-add?

It’s tempting sometimes to think of social media tools as “add on” components to a campaign and indeed many people do just that. An agency might put a ton of thought into launching a blog for a client and then casually suggest a Twitter account to go along with that. Or an interactive shop that crosses practice boundaries might create a series of TV spots and then someone throws out the idea of a Facebook page for one of the characters in those commercials. But the sense is that these are extras, like under-coating, that can be set aside at will, with no real thought put into them.

Without being integrated into the goals – and subsequent strategies – then yes, they’ll be dropped quickly because no one sees the value in their usage. But if the campaign plan makes it clear that Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare or whatever else is part of achieving the stated goals and a roadmap is laid out for who that happens, attitudes change. These tools move from add-ons to essential components that are taken seriously and receive the appropriate attention from stakeholders.

The difference between an add-on and a value-add is huge and it takes a lot of work to bridge that gap. But if you keep proposing add-ons that get dropped then eventually your counsel becomes an add-on that’s easily dropped. If you provide counsel that adds value you’ll be treated accordingly.

About the Author
Chris Thilk works on the Client Services team, part of Voce Connect, developing and executing social media strategy. You can follow him at @christhilk on Twitter.

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