LONDON — MSL UK has launched a specialist, full-service social media division, On Social, in response to increasing client demand for pure-play social media and influencer briefs.

On Social’s team of social media strategists, creatives and content studio will offer clients creative social strategy, content production, community management, influencer marketing and data and analytics reporting.

MSL UK already works on social and influencer briefs for clients including Coty, Renault, Subway and Puma. The new offer will be a standalone division which will work with a roster of social and influencer-only clients.

On Social will be headed up by MSL UK managing partner Neil Kleiner, who has more than 20 years of social media marketing experience from agencies such as Havas Media, Golin and entertainment specialist Way To Blue.

Kleiner told PRovoke Media: “We’ve seen an unprecedented increase in pure-play social media and marketing RFPs, as well as more demand from existing clients using community management and social strategy. We’ve always offered social media and influencer marketing, but, as in the 2010 social media boom, brands are again seeking reassurance of specialism.

“Over the past 10 years, social media has swung between brands taking in house and specialists being bought up and integrated into a wider agency offering. We wanted to make On Social a separate brand, because there are very few specialists left – massive respect to Coolr and Brave Bison – and clients are confused about where to buy social media from.

“This is about us thinking about social with more focus and clarity, in a world where we are facing serious challenges for client budgets, and where budgets are shifting from traditional above the line activity to capitalise on the power of social media to drive reach, engagement and relevancy at much lower cost."

Allied to this, Kleiner also said he was seeing a shift back to organic rather than paid social: “TikTok has done a lot to change the nature of how we communicate with younger audiences, but algorithmically, the back of the feed is changing: received wisdom was to always put paid with it, and focus on content abundance, but brands can’t afford to put paid with everything. On Social is about brand building, and seeing social as not being just being about ‘pay to play’ but about telling 360 degree stories about brands, products and the value of brands.

"It’s a good time to be back in the social game, it’s been more about paid for past 10 years and maybe there hasn’t been the same sense of creativity and seeing things through the earned lens.”

At agency and client intermediary Ingenuity, managing partner Duncan Wood agreed there had been an uptick on social-only briefs: “This year, we've seen unprecedented demand from brands for specialist social agencies with full-service social media offerings. From community management to content production and the maturing demand for influencer marketing, it's a trend that we think is here to stay, and we predict market demand will only increase.”

Last October, MSL released its Influencer Pay Gap Report, which highlighted the huge disparity in pay between white and Black influencers.