The problem with being a specialist is that when everyone can do what your good at, it ceases to be particularly special. That certainly seems to rapidly becoming the case for many of those self-styled social media gurus out there.
It’s barely six months since the future looked set to be defined by your local common or garden social media influencer listening strategy agency, and now instead everyone seems to be doin’ it for themselves.
So is it over for social media specialists before it even got going?
It all seems a bit unfair of course. At least with the original wave of digital we at least had a good run of about 10 years before most people worked out what we were talking about; at this rate social media agencies will be lucky if they get a clear 10 months!
I mentioned recently that many digital agencies have been perhaps blindsided by the rise of social media; in essence it has leveled the playing field for agencies of all creeds, giving everyone the chance to develop new credentials free from whatever baggage they may have carried before. Just being digital doesn’t mean you’ll be any better placed to deliver socially.
What’s becoming clear though is that the field of play is not just open to all agencies, but every client business and corporation out there as well.
Now that the UK Government has seen fit to issue an informative, useful and practical guide on how to use Twitter, we’re clearly going to be hearing a lot more from all manner of civil servants and ministers alike. No doubt we’ll also see a subsequent surge in uptake from all shapes and sizes of commercial business as well.
Everywhere you look businesses are getting on with the business of getting social all by themselves.
Of course Twitter is just the current most high-profile face of social, but with its low barriers to entry it’s a clear first step for any organisation to find its feet in social with or without 20 pages of best practice guidelines; made all the easier no doubt by Twitter’s active moves to help businesses get signed up and tweeting.
Pete Blackshaw of
Nielsen said in AdAge;
“It's hard to turn over a rock in social media, dip your toe into Twitter or comment on someone's blog without rethinking the fundamentals of a firm's organization or product development. Such firsthand experience begets inspiration. Inspiration powers change. And change is needed now more than ever before.”
Just as increased listening and participation may help a traumatized political system regain some of its respect and understanding, there’s nothing like being part of the conversation to force reappraisal of how, why and where we do what we do as clients and agencies.
Rather than exploit social simply to make up for short falls in current ad budgets, it demands we take a longer term view, reconsidering how we use media together, the role and expectations we have of creative work, and our definitions of success.
Whilst we might lose out on a few opportunities to knock out a quick blog or a couple of widgets in the short-term, we’ll more than make up for this with richer, broader, more genuine and frankly more entertaining client and agency partnerships, which has got be a better prospect.