Building a corporate brand was the most-cited reason why agencies are seeing an increased need for social media strategy from their clients. Rounding out the list were: dialogue with customers (58.8%), enhancing reputation (46.1%), selling products (42.2%), and gaining online press coverage (30.4%).
"A lot of corporations are very sensitive to and wary of all the social media outlets, from Facebook to Twitter, and they are sensitive to what might be said about their company," said Art Stevens, managing partner of SGP. "They really want their PR agencies to stay on top of it, and to offer advice and counsel. PR agencies have obviously had to acquire the social media know-how and talent, which has been made easier by all the young people coming into the industry today."
More than 100 respondents were polled from a cross-section of US agencies in SGP's US agency database, according to the firm. It is the first time SGP has conducted a survey on this particular topic, and the company is now considering making it an annual poll, added Stevens.
While corporate clients continue to look to traditional media practices, Stevens said the value of new media strategy is no longer seen as merely an afterthought, but rather an overall element in developing a seamless corporate brand.
"Agencies have to keep cultivating talent," he said. "They have to keep training people. They have to stay current themselves, and this becomes a major consideration in terms of what agencies do because it will separate the weak from the strong moving forward."
In related news, StevensGouldPincus recently launched SGP Digital, a new communications firm specializing in digital, interactive, and social media communications services.