In this age of specialization, it's no surprise that we've seen specialization on the agency side.
And that means it's no surprise that somebody has decided to start an agency for the hottest social media service on the internet right now: Twitter.
Twitter Partners is a London-based agency that says it will provide the tools and consultancy that "can help brands, media companies, and celebrities harness the power of the Twitter ecosystem".
It is founded by Peter Read, a former Nielsen employee and angel investor who has served as an advisor to a number of startups, including Skype. It is managed by Scott Gallacher, who has worked at Accelerated 360, Sky and Ogilvy.
Twitter Partners has recruited an impressive advisory team that consists of internet veterans, including the founders of Lastminute.com, a venture capitalist and a former Yahoo vice president.
Here's the problem that I see: Twitter Partners is far too specialized. 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.
Given this I question whether it makes sense hiring an agency that's focused specifically on Twitter, especially since full-service digital agencies are no doubt aware of Twitter and capable of offering what Twitter Partners will be offering (reputation monitoring, collecting feedback, etc.).
But with Twitter Partners, the problem goes beyond that: Twitter Partners appears to lack credibility.
For an agency that is promoting its Twitter prowess, you only need to look at its Twitter account to wonder. As of the writing of this post, @TweetPartners (why didn't they use the company name, TwitterPartners?) has posted two tweets, doesn't have an avatar and is using the standard Twitter background.
The same is true of @scottgallacher, Twitter Partners' managing partner. @petermread has an avatar but no custom background. Read has 155 followers, 21 updates and started tweeting last October. Gallacher has 33 followers, 8 updates and sent his first tweet in February of this year. Clearly neither Gallacher or Read is a Twitter power user.
The Twitter Partners website copies the basic Twitter design and even uses Twitter's logo. Not very creative. And to add insult to injury, the title tag has a misspelling: "Twiiter apps, tools and services". Ironically, it lists a bunch of third party tools that brands, media companies and celebrities can use without Twitter Partners' help.
This is not inspiring stuff from a group that is telling the world that it 'gets' Twitter and can help clients achieve success on the microblogging service. As they say, the proof is in the pudding and I don't see anything edible here. While you could argue that avatars, custom backgrounds and follower counts don't mean much, it's hard to deny the appearance that this creates: that the people behind Twitter Partners are Twitter neophytes who are using their pedigrees to cash in on the hottest online trend.
I'm sure they'll be able to drum up business (they've already signed on clients like Virgin Media and Universal Pictures) because of their pedigrees and connections, but I have to do a double take and ask: is this for real?
While I hope I'm wrong about Twitter Partners, if anything this a good case study for how important it is to make sure you look credible when launching a new business. If you're going to talk the talk, make sure you show people how you're walking the walk.
Photo credit: Mykl Roventine via Flickr.