Account management is a fickle thing: at every moment you’re tasked with keeping your client on track with the strategy you laid out for certain time periods–the next year, the next month, whatever–but you’re also responsible for keeping an eye out for those great PR opportunities and social media moments that can pass quickly, too quickly for you to respond before you’re too late.
Do you only take advantage of something on social media your client could benefit from if it matches with the long term strategy? Do you jump on everything in hopes of joining every conversation possible? I’d say a balance of both. Being strong on social media will help maintain your client’s reputation as being relevant and interesting–your job as an account manager is to keep a finger on the pulse and work with your creatives to make something interesting happen.
Spontaneous bits of PR can help if they’re in line with the target audience of the client, and if they’re coordinated with other people working on the account. You have to have a nimble team that’s used to fast-paced decision making. The team has to be well-versed in what’s going on in the world around them so that collaboration can be as efficient as possible. Having creative resources on your team collaborating with the account planners is how real productivity is found.
If you hit it right on the spontaneity front and end up getting tons of engagement out of it, celebrate that success. But make sure it doesn’t distract from your overall goal, or derail your account strategy in the long-run. Yes, account management should be flexible and adapt well to new directions for each client, but not so that everyone gets distracted and nothing long-term actually gets done.