Are Social Media Experts Relevant?

The 2010 BrandZ report outlines the usefulness and impact social media tools, such as Facebook and Twitter, can have on a marketing campaign.

Clients today don’t want their agency’s presentations to open predictably with a TV campaign. TV remains central to the mix, but clients also are looking for something that even the “Mad Men” of only a few years ago couldn’t contemplate—social media.
Integrated, multi-media campaigns must include impact on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and with smartphone apps or any other digital media that individuals use to connect.
Delivering on this expectation requires some wizardry, however, because of the revolutionary and dislocating impact that social media has had on the protocols and manners of traditional communication. Speed limits, access barriers and language inhibitions have been lifted. Passion and genuine expression are in; caution and circumlocution are out. The result is the purest anarchy or democracy or both.
See pages 22 to 29 of the report.

The majority of marketing firms are catching on to the idea that the youth in the 21st century are more susceptible to products marketed online. On-demand television and the demise of print media has ensured that the traditional method of capturing the attention of the public is no longer enough.

Hence, companies have resorted to creating Facebook fan pages and using the trending topics function on Twitter to create brand awareness and to create relationships with potential customers. In fact Twitter trends have become so popular, Twitter has increased the price of a promoted trending topic from USD 80,000 to USD 120,000 for a single day.

Many of these companies are completely ignorant in how to appropriately use social media to position their brand in a favourable light. An entertaining example was fashion house Kenneth Cole's recent twitter faux pas:

Needless to say the online community was not pleased at the cavalier manner in which the protests in Egypt were used to announce Kenneth Cole's "new spring collection".

Companies are now looking to employ people who have traditional marketing finesse as well as an understanding of modern media techniques. These individuals are liberally called "social media experts". Do companies need an "expert" to tell them how to retweet a post? Or can a traditional marketing executive simply simply learn how to use the new tools available?

Twitter and Facebook, in this author's humble opinion, are merely two tools in a marketing executives arsenal. They are formidable tools, but not ones that are impossible to master. After all there is no course or qualification for the so-called "social media experts".

Contact me if you would like a social media expert to design a marketing campaign for your organisation.

Image source: Penn Olson (see for some more funny social media related comics)

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