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In the realm of social media, the word 'listening' surfaces frequently. Thanks to sites like Facebook and Twitter, companies have an ability to listen to what consumers are saying about them in ways never before possible.
But when it comes to social media marketing, many businesses pay lip service to listening and instead focus their actions on words like 'conversation' and 'engagement', which are more exciting.
One global brand, however, is working to ensure that social media activities don't exclude the passive act of listening, and it's doing it in a big way.
As detailed by AdAge, Coca-Cola has started a search for an agency that will help the world's most prominent beverage brand monitor what consumers are saying about it in social channels:
The pitch -- which internally Coca-Cola is calling a "listening review" -- encompasses social-media monitoring across billion-dollar brands such as Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Sprite, Minute Maid, Powerade, Vitaminwater and Dasani.
"[Our goal is] to identify a consistent agency and format for conducting social-media monitoring," Ms. Tressler said. "[We want] to yield the most information about what consumers are saying about our brands, so we know what they are looking for".
Many if not most major brands have at least one digital agency on retainer, and quite a few work with specialist digital agencies that focus on social media. But Coca-Cola may be the first brand to put out a call for an agency to help it handle social media monitoring specifically. Is this a harbinger of things to come? Perhaps.
While it would be foolish to pretend that social is far and away the most important channel (for all but a few businesses it isn't), Coca-Cola seems to recognize a simple fact: social media is a complex channel, and not all social media marketing-related activities are the same.
Just as, for instance, an analytics guru who identifies a problematic page correlated with shopping cart abandonment is likely not going to be the person who fixes the usability or copy problem responsible for the abandonment, an agency that is capable of helping a client engage effectively with consumers through social media isn't necessarily going to be the most capable of analyzing social chatter and applying the results to social and other marketing channels.
In other words, the best listeners aren't always the best talkers. If Coca-Cola's "listening review" proves to be a fruitful undertaking, don't be surprised if other major brands look for even greater specialization from their agencies too.