In a recent FastCompany article, Courtney Martin talks about the dangers of relying too heavily on what’s hot in social media, the need for integration of traditional platforms, and the need to recognize that change takes time to influence and to not expect an overnight reversal of attitudes and consumer behavior.

She talks about it in the context of affecting social change, but I believe it has applications in our collective worlds of influencing consumer behavior and affecting your own business.

She encourages her readers to take the step back and think about the basics of what influences change and how long that change typically takes.

In a post I recently wrote for our AgencySearch blog, I suggested that Marketers need to think hard about how they look at social programs and go “beyond the likes” to determine whether or not an effort is truly impacting the value of a relationship with consumers.

Simply handling the basics and not thinking broadly about your business needs and how social and digital can best address those needs is short-sighted.

Your Agency Should Educate You.

If all your agency talks about is followers and “likes”, you need to ask yourself: “In the end is this an effective strategy or effective outcome?”.

Is the business really going to win just because people “like” you?

A logical question is what are you going to do with all those people that now follow you?

Is it part of a larger strategy that integrates traditional media to build a loyal following that ultimately buys your product or service.  What’s the end game in all this liking and following anyway?

If your Agency isn’t asking these tough questions or educating you on how to think about this brave new world, you’re getting short-changed.

So What Does This Mean For You?

They shouldn’t be waiting for YOU to ask them for more “likes”, they need to lead you.

They should be equipped to help you make smarter choices and not “what’s hot today” choices because their creative guys think it’s cool.

And finally, they need to know what to do with what you get.

Nice that you started with 500 followers and you now have 5,000…but so what?

Not only is it important to measure, but it is also important to have a strategy that is going to “activate” the results of your social and digital programs so it actually has purpose for the business beyond the one event in time.

If your Agency isn’t asking these questions and helping you get smarter about the options available in the social space – and how to best make them work well for your business, it’s time for more than a social change.