It Takes Two to Tango

Working with an agency can be daunting, challenging and regrettable or it can be capacity-creating, inspiring and dare we say it? FUN! Every potential partner, current client or former relationship at See.Spark.Go has heard us say two words: Relationship and Results. 

This mantra has made its way from proposals and vision statements to annual reviews and client-health checks. We have found that the most successful agency-client relationships we have boil down to our relationships with the people we work with and the results we deliver. If we don’t have results, we all know the partnership will never last — no matter how much we enjoy working with one another — but equally important, if we don’t have a relationship, our performance becomes transactional and will never survive a mistake, budget constraint or change in the tides of leadership, trends or teams. 

Here’s how we can both succeed:

How to get the most out of your agency

  • Be responsive
  • Show gratitude
  • Get excited when it’s right, tell us when it’s wrong
  • Give us margin to be creative and produce great work
  • Trust us

How to best serve as an agency partner

  • Communicate – often and customized
  • Be the expert you were hired to be
  • Strive for continuous improvement and innovation!
  • Know the goal and the challenges/obstacles
  • Survey the market landscape and know where your client best fits 

What have we missed? Are there intangibles you have seen that make your agency/client relationships succeed? We’d love to learn from you!

Striking the Right Tone: How Marketers Should Communicate in the Age of Coronavirus

As the old adage goes, timing is everything. As strategy partners to our clients, it’s our job to identify good timing and to make the most of the opportunities it presents. This includes knowing how to strike the right tone when the going gets tough and things go viral (literally).

From terror attacks to recessions to natural disasters, marketers and their agencies have faced plenty of challenges before—but the worldwide COVID impact is, well, unprecedented.

The messages we publish are under a microscope, and rightly so. Curating just the right tone for your communication approach is imperative to your brand’s success through this temporary, yet highly sensitive time. Here are our top five tips to help brands strike the right tone during difficult times:

  1. Keep it human. See.Spark.Go President & Co-founder Brittany Thoms says it best: “It’s all about staying relevant and human.” Audiences are far more likely to give to, buy from or support people-forward organizations over faceless brands. It’s imperative that brands carry an empathetic tone that fits whatever its audience is experiencing in the moment.
  2. Stay aspirational. Shed a light! Your audience is ultimately looking to you to be a resource, example or inspiration for the type of life they want to live. Keep producing the good stuff—just make sure it doesn’t read as “oblivious” to current events.
  3. Check it twice, or more. Brands are currently reevaluating the tone of their ads and social content. Many have had to pull spots, shelve already-produced work for another time, or retool existing content. While it may feel like wasted effort to scrap that awesome campaign you worked so hard on, if it no longer makes sense within the global climate, you (and your leadership, clients, and consumers) will be so glad you decided to pivot. 
  4. Humor and sarcasm aren’t out! Just run it through several sensitivity filters before hitting “publish.”
  5. Be generous. Consumers are looking to see what you can offer to the community in these times. Are you adapting your operational services to meet current needs, or possibly reimagining your business model to focus on customer convenience? Keep working to create value for those you serve by meeting them where they’re at, and you will be rewarded.

We hope you will view this time as an opportunity to evaluate your brand through a new lens and lean into better understanding your audience. Approach them as if you were approaching yourself—as humans who are also navigating uncharted waters. They may not want to be “sold” to right now, and we have to respect that. Take this time instead to cultivate community and foster loyalty among your audience, and they’ll continue to support you in the long term.

Social media for brands requires a deep understanding of your target market, which is why See.Spark.Go invests heavily in time and resources to help brands listen and respond to the audiences they serve. For more on See.Spark.Go’s crisis management approach and how we can serve your brand with social media management and tone development, get in touch.

Crafting the Perfect Media Mix

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, SnapChat, Instagram Stories—wait, Facebook has Stories now, too? And what are Twitter Moments? Throw in a LinkedIn and Glassdoor strategy, Yelp monitoring and a pineapple and cherry on top, and you have the opposite of a cocktail meant to help you let go of a week’s worth of stress.

Creating the perfect social media mix — not to mention crafting the content to go to each channel — is overwhelming for the best of digital marketers. Working with dozens of brands of varying size, scope and type, we preach sustainability and consistency, but when establishing a brand, it’s also important to have multiple touch points to engage your audience. Many entrepreneurs think the easiest solution is to prioritize one social network where they know their audience is (can I hear an amen from our Instagram-only friends?). This approach can not only miss potential audiences but it can keep you from sharing your whole story and engaging with your audience in ways that best achieve your goals with little additional effort.

The perfect social media mix tells the right story to the right audience at the right time. Think of it like having that beer at the baseball game or the bottle of champagne on your anniversary! Timing and environment are everything.

Here’s how to create a holistic social media strategy in the most efficient and effective way possible.


What value do you add to people? Why do you exist? What do you want people to do? Often we think that engagement and awareness are all these bad boys of social media can do, but it is possible to use them to increase the number of products you sell by 50 percent, get 5,000 people to subscribe to your newsletter or have 500 people register for your workshop.


A social media strategy encompasses the channels you’re going to leverage your story through, how often and in what way. You can determine the best channels to use by discovering where your audience engages (not just has accounts), which channel’s format helps you achieve your goals, and where your content works best. The cadence question is best answered by testing, evaluating, and optimizing. We love tag reports in Sprout Social that allow you to compare and contrast posts by theme or timing. Other reports allow us to compare engagement per day to how many posts were sent. For both, it’s essential to be intentional with A/B testing that compares multiple weeks and not just a day here and there.


Once you determine where you’re going to post and how often, the secret sauce is what you post. We love the 80/20 rule (80 percent of engagement will come from 20 percent of your effort). In other words, do more with less. Creating a communications calendar will help you leverage that 20 percent of effort (quality content!) as far as it can go.

1. Identify your themes. Pick the TOP 3 core messages or big ideas and TOP 3 calls to action to expound on throughout the year. Align them across the year at the top of a spreadsheet.

2. Develop a content pyramid. Put all of your communication channels down the side, starting with foundational content pieces (i.e., blogs) down to the channel with the shortest content (i.e., social media).

3. Leverage foundational content. Themes help you plan blogs, which you can then trickle down to a blurb in an email, make the headline a tweet, an image with a caption on Instagram, and a quote and link on Facebook to drive people back to the full post.

4. Drill down deeper. A social media calendar will expand your row for social into a full, day-by-day content calendar. In the same way, one content piece can be leveraged across different channels, but more posts per day or week means more categories. Here’s an example of categories that create a balance of content across your channel:

  1. Spotlight people inside, around, and affected by your organization
  2. Inform or educate about your industry, pain points, etc., to connect to why you or your product exists
  3. Entertain your audience with inspirational, funny, or engaging tidbits
  4. Curate content by thought leaders that aligns with your mission or vision
  5. Promote your initiatives with clear calls to action

Once you’ve defined your why, how, and what, you will be able to fill in the blanks with the right content to reach the right audience at the right time. Before you know it, that stressful social media cocktail will drive the results you need to be sipping a more delightful Mai Tai on Friday night.

Download Rising Tide Society’s Social Media Guide E-book here for more resources from a variety of social media experts.