Our Revolution Comes To Greensboro, NC
Fortune 200 Nonprofits Adopt Social Media 100%

When And Where To Use Agency Support For Social Media

I chatted with talked with Tom Hoehn (@TomHoehn), Director of Interactive Marketing & Convergence Media at Kodak recently about my ideas around corporate social media using the Immerse and Disperse model. I wanted to know if he thought the model was one that would work for companies and agencies.
We talked about the idea that you set up a central social media engagement center that’s responsible for crafting overall social media policies, and doing engagement, listening and triage work on a company wide level to support the overall brand. But to push out the adoption of social media to brands and divisions, you have to empower brand managers and division managers with tools and resources.
For Kodak, Tom told me how he saw social media deployed at the company. They started out with one blogger, and have now grown to 35 people. In the states Kodak corporate runs social media starting with one blog and employees are the voice of the company.
Tom said that setting up corporate social media is about spreading the ideas and methods of social media across the company, its not about just having one person, who will manage the Facebook page, but depending on the brand, product or corporate division, each unit will figure out how to incorporate social media into how to innovate, support and market to customers. Corporate social media’s role is to give support across the company, directly by supporting individuals, or by giving business units the tools to know how to deploy social media to reach their goals; from how to develop an editorial calendar, to writing an escalation and branding policy. One of the tools Tom developed to help with spreading social media ideas at Kodak was the Kodak Social Media Tips book.
He also thought that in large companies there’s a diversity of realities. Some parts of the company will want to embrace social media, and as a result not need support from an agency. But at the same time, other parts of the company will need support.
In Europe, Kodak marketing uses its public relations agency to augment Kodak personnel. These people add depth and can represent Kodak on the ground and in social media. There’s always a clear dividing line between who is a representative and who is an employee. The model works as Kodak scales its efforts in various country markets.

I wanted to know if Tom thought the Immerse and Disperse model is a workable one for agencies; he thought it was, because it addresses the changing nature of social media in a company. When you start out, you don’t have employees with skills and experience, part of your goal is to get them trained up.
I suggested that an agency using the immerse and disperse model would provide an engagement manager with supporting experts whose role would be tactical in terms of being a representative to build the long term engagement center that a company needs to build. But also strategic, in that by working and doing social media, you are training company employees on how to execute, and know where to get resources. As employees become proficient, the agency engagement manager would become more strategic, or move their role over to a brand or division to set up a mini social media engagement center. The engagement manager would work with the company social media director or community managers.
Tom thought such a model would allow an agency to be more nimble, and help structure an engagement in a way that works for a company.
In some ways this model of immerse and disperse is much more of a strategic or management consultancy play than it is a digital agency, just because we are talking about change management within the company, and agencies focus on creative project work rather than helping to change processes for a new business model.