As usual, Phil Lynagh’s column in the latest issue of Campaign Middle East magazine is bang on the money and this month he’s touched on a particular bug-bear of mine in ‘This social media bubble needs to pop‘.
Having been more than a little prone to geekiness in my time, I am reminded of my first ‘serious’ jobs in the workplace, when desktop PCs were the new thing and I was often feted as ‘the computer guy’ by colleagues and bosses. Whether it was how to rename a file, to find out why the computer was slow or how to use the new desktop publishing software, colleagues queued to ask for help. I wasn’t a computer engineer, I had no formal training in computers and I certainly wasn’t a designer, but if your problem involved a computer somewhere in the process, I was your man! As more and more people came to be more comfortable with using computers in the office, so I was able to retire from my role as ‘the computer guy’. Today, social media is the ‘new thing’ and many business people still fear this new phenomenon and the jargon that goes with it.
Today we call ‘the social media guys’.
Who better to represent your company on new social media platforms than someone who knows all about likes, tweets, shares, bloggers and, perhaps, who’s popular online themselves? Well, for starters, someone who understands communications, brand positioning and how to plan an effective campaign (and, of course, by this I mean one that reaches the right people with the right message and effects a change). Social media have grown up quickly to include a variety of extremely powerful communications tools. Knowledge of how they work is clearly critical to being able to leverage these tools effectively, but just as having Adobe Illustrator doesn’t make you a graphic designer, knowing your Likes from your Tweets doesn’t automatically make you a digital marketing consultant either.
Of course, from an agency perspective, it is true that this is partly a turf war. Advertising agencies, PR firms, established digital agencies, social media start-ups and every other kind of marketing company want to be the social media guys. Sadly, many still define campaign objectives and successes in very broad terms, when, in fact, the new tools offered us by digital media are dramatically increasing the ways that marketers can profile audiences and measure responses. Don’t let anyone fob you off with volumetric objectives and results such as Total Likes, Total Followers, Total Blog Posts, Total Click Throughs or Total Views that bear no relation to your brand’s objectives, your target audience or your campaign’s success.
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