Social Media Is Becoming A Commodity

Anyone can do media relations. Anyone can pitch a journalist. Some people can even do it well. However, no-one in their right mind is going to hire your firm because you pitched a straight media relations campaign to them because everyone is pitching it.

Oil barrel

Social media is fast becoming a commodity, just like media relations. A few firms used to differentiate themselves by being the ones who paid attention to social media. Now, anyone who can talk a good game and who knows slightly more than the client is able to pitch it and sound like an expert.

Basic business theory says that while first movers gain a temporary advantage, if they don’t create barriers to entry to others then that advantage can quickly be lost. 

As social media increasingly becomes a commodity, companies need to do more than just be there. Those who have enjoyed an advantage from being early to market need to work hard to separate themselves once again. 

Just ‘doing’ social media is no longer enough to win you business. Having done it for a little longer than everyone else does little to differentiate you, either. You might crow that you were doing it before other people, but potential clients probably don’t care.

What do clients care about?

  • Ideas – creative, strategic ideas that solve a problem and accomplish objectives
  • Integrated solutions – approaches that bring together disciplines into a strategic approach
  • Understanding – a clear knowledge and grasp of the issues that matter to them
  • Rounded team – a well-formed team that covers all the bases
  • Chemistry – a team that gels with the client-side team personally as well as professionally
  • Thought leadership – demonstrated leadership in the areas that matter
  • Success – documented case studies – the one area in which, for now, being a first mover gives the advantage.

So what if you have 25,000 Twitter followers? It takes a few weeks for unscrupulous types to game the system and gain that many if that’s what they’re after. Similarly, who cares if you’ve had a blog for six or seven years? It’s what you’ve done with it that matters.

If you’ve been around in social media for a few years, think: what have you done to separate yourself now that everyone else is just like you?

Dave Fleet
Managing Director and Head of Global Digital Crisis at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.