Q&A: Sarah Personette, director of global agency relations, Facebook

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 Sarah Personette, director of global agency relations at Facebook, discusses her new unit. 

Q: Have you been doing a lot of meeting with agencies one-on-one as well?

A: I'd say that's a big part of my day-to-day job — meeting with agencies, understanding what's working for them on Facebook, and what we can improve from a relationship perspective. That will inform a lot of our outreach programs in the next 12 to 24 months. Another component of that has been meeting with agencies and including them in what our narrative is [to brand marketers]. 

We ultimately believe that the Web is being built around people, and we're evolving from the informational Web to the social Web. I liken it to moving from the "what" to the "who." That leads into the concept of social by design, and that if you use social as the foundation to build out a brand experience, you can create a participatory, conversational, personalized brand-consumer experience.

Q: Facebook has made a concerted effort this year to connect with agencies, from introducing the agency relations team to the Facebook Studio program and Facebook Studio Live events. Is this a change for Facebook, which generally worked directly with brands?

A: You're seeing Facebook shift from focusing on clients to also focusing on the need to up-level and reach across the aisle to agencies, because they are ultimately going to be the architects of effective social marketing. They are the extension of what Facebook should be for the consumer and brand relationship.

Q: What are the main requests 
from marketer clients?

A: The first one is a call for case studies and examples that will inspire them to think differently, which is why Facebook Studio is so important. The second thing is education and training, and being able to stay in the know and build out communication and marketing campaigns that are social at the core. Insights and research are also important. 

Q: What do you see as the next step for the agency relations team?

A: As a company, we are at the early stages of what we think 
Facebook will be in the future, 
as well as our relationship with agencies. One of the biggest challenges and goals for us as an agency relations team is to really service and support the agency community overall. While we've made a lot of accomplishments in the last few months, we still have so much road to cover. I'm really excited about that.


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