Who Should Own Social Media?

Once companies dive into the social media pool, there are some important nitty gritties that demand a lot of attention. One of them is which department should own social media? Is social media messaging, monitoring and responding a part of marketing and communication teams or is there a need for cross department integration?

At this moment, companies are still testing waters. But 5 years from now, the question is what does social media bring to the table? Would it just be limited to conversations and standardized strategies that first movers will start with, and later would be adopted by others in the industry, or would it entail more than just discussions and promotions? Would functions like PR be totally neglected and be restricted to traditional media?

When looking for relevant discussions around this topic, I came across a really interesting interview of Matthew Harrington, President & CEO of Edelman U.S for PR Daily. Greater part of the discussion was focused on the future of PR, but Harrington does bring out some interesting points about the structure of social media in companies in the coming years. Also, in this interview, he talks about how it is one of the most exciting times for social media PR than ever before.

Social Media and PR

One of the most interesting things he said in the interview, which I truly agree with, is that PR is about connecting with another individual around a message and so is social media. Therefore, social media is just the right fit for PR. Social media just opens up the world for us, because it helps us take the communication with our stakeholders to a different level. So, I too would like add my thoughts here to say that since social media facilitates dialogue on so many easily accessible platforms, information here can be easily retrieved and searched, so which other avenue could be better than this to engage in PR?

Looking forward to the age of hyper integration:

Description, processing, monitoring of social media activities and alignment with the business goal is very critical. Therefore, it is good to find people who can ensure that both your business and your social media efforts are in sync.

Harrington says that it is still an early stage for social media. Companies are still trying to figure out if marketing and communication should have the whole pie or if it should be shared. And which departments should be represented in the social media team.

Another point made by him is that social media requires representatives from all facets of the company: HR, legal, operations along with marketing and communication partners.

The logic behind this is that since social media is an open platform and attracts all sorts of queries like job openings, service issues as well as complaints, it is good to have representatives, who can solve relevant queries.Therefore for a company’s social media efforts to be successful and prompt, there is a need for hyper integration.

So what do you think, we would love to take this discussion further based on your thoughts :)

  • I agree with Mr. Harrington, that the social media channels of a company should be populated with content by different departments. Many companies just put their usual marketing people on it, which usually creates content which could bore most consumers away pretty easily. With the variety different people can add to a fellow twitter account, or one that retweets relevant information, a company is served a lot better.

    Furthermore, they should not be controlled too much, but have space to experiment. People without knowledge on how to use it, should not be permitted to post directly, even if it’s the CEO and especially if he prints out his emails :)