Few of the negotiation skills that advertisers have learned from buying TV and poster spots can be transferred to social media.
By Christian Schmalzl, Global Investment Director at MediaCom
What it also changes is the way we trade with media owners. With few exceptions - where advertisers buy display advertising on platforms such as Facebook - social media shifts forces brands to move away from their traditional focus on discounts and rebates.
The reason is that most social media reach has to be earned rather than paid-for. You can advertise to drive passive awareness but the most effective messages are those that become part of the conversation that takes place between consumers.
So if you don't get the reach you seek the problem is yours, you can't ring up a media owner and ask for compensation.
Earning a place in these conversations is easier for some sectors than others. People are much more willing to talk about which car, which mobile or which holiday they want to buy than they are to talk about which brand of washing powder they like.
Brands need to accept that the rules of the game have changed and adapt. Classic advertising does have a role but the most effective way to connect on these platforms is to trigger conversations.
For you as advertisers this means understanding that the process of allocating your budget within social media will be very different in this environment.
You need to understand that each campaign will require an individual approach. Insight and strategy will be crucial to work out what will get people talking and the answers will differ from client to client and product to product.
Budget might then be allocated to content for social media distribution, funding people needed to regularly interact with consumers or building relationships with key community leaders.
Advertisers need to appreciate that while 90% of consumers follow social media, community leaders wield far greater influence. Understanding what motivates them will help advertisers generate context and conversation around their brand message.
You and your agency will also need to create new relationships with media owner in this space, one based around co-operation and knowledge rather than the exchange of money.
Advertisers need to learn from platforms like Facebook and Google, to understand what consumer respond to in these environments, what makes a conversation carry on and to develop their skills in using them.
The benefits of scale will still apply because the more campaigns an advertiser or an agency runs the greater their understanding of the nuances of each platform and the better the results should be.
Scale also delivers a greater understanding of behaviour patterns in the social media space, improved insight into consumer motivations and responses as well as relationships that provide the early understanding of new developments.
What it won't do in social media is give you a bigger rebate or discount against rate card.