Henry Elliss, associate director of social media, Tamar
The debate over the merits of agencies pushing social media on mobile has raised a number of issues, most of which need to be cleared up before we stand a chance of giving a clear message to our clients.
The view that mobile is a more complex discipline to master than social media is pandering to the opinion that anyone can do social - one made more questionable by the massive influx of social gurus online. A recent nma on Mobile column went so far as to claim there are “no unique skills or experience in social media” and “a child can launch a Facebook page” (nma.co.uk 11 March 2010).
I’m not going to make myself look naive and claim the child comment is wrong - to Facebook’s great credit, its pages are so easy to set up my two-year-old son could probably have a go. I’m 100% confident that within the year similarly easy-to-use mobile tools will be available, making it possible for anyone to knock up a mobile website or a basic iPhone app.
But the point being missed is that while you can make a basic app, page or site for both a mobile and a social network, they won’t be engaging, creative, well planned, monetised or customer-focused - all qualities required for a successful mobile or social campaign.
The view that there are no unique skills in social media is made dubious by two things. First is the aforementioned abundance of people who claim to be experts, despite having no real-world experience and no proof. Let’s not forget this opinion has spread mainly through Twitter. I’m sure if there were a mobile community with 70m users it too would be full of people claiming to be mobile experts.
Second, the burgeoning market in social conferences only encourages the view that virtually anyone can do it. Having worked in Tamar’s search team for two years before moving across to social media, I’m the perfect example of someone who has changed focus from one (actually very closely related) discipline to another. But these conferences are full of so-called social experts who have come from much more varied backgrounds. I’ve seen such experts who have worked in PR, web development, digital marketing, offline, business development, public speaking and even radio presenting.
I hope the next six months will see a real increase in the number of great case studies and examples of really good social campaigns, devised and created by talented teams who have proved their worth. Only then will we truly be able to prove the detractors wrong.