This isn’t a blog about how ‘social media has become mainstream’. What I do want to ponder is: who’s best suited to manage these social media strategies?
Is it an organisation’s:
• marketing department
• public relations team
• advertising team or
• (if an organisation is lucky enough to have it) its digital marketing department
• a multi-disciplinary team?
I tweeted the question recently and received a variety of responses, but little agreement. It reminds me a little of the great website debate of 10 years ago: who owns the company website? Corporate? IT? Marketing? [Sadly, some companies still haven’t resolved this.]
So where does social media sit? This is a real issue for me.
I work within the public relations field, and the social media campaigns I help manage often delve into the world of marketing. I’ve got a BA in Journalism and Masters in Communication Management … I don’t have the energy to become a marketer, too. But I know the marketing discipline would add definite strengths to some social media projects.
But do marketers care enough about regular two-way conversations with stakeholders? Probably not as much as PR bods, who are charged with caring about what all audiences say about their clients, wherever they say it.
Social media and PR work well together.
A PR professional can see where social media fits within a business’s overall communications strategy. Good PR bods recognise the need for two-way communication within an organisation, and social media is today’s key to two-way communication tool. PR professionals are also focused on outcomes, on reaching the right audiences in the right place, with the right message. We won’t play with social media just for the sake of it.
As Lee Hopkins has said (and said often), it’s about strategy. Who’s best able to steer your social media strategy for you? It’s not just about opening a Facebook page, boosting membership numbers, and blasting followers with regular marketing messages. There’s got to be a rhyme and reason to all this. If you’re not asking that question yet .. believe me, your followers soon will. Consumers are becoming more savvy and selective: they won’t follow everyone forever.
There needs to be a long term view. What’s going to happen to that Facebook page in a year, in two years? What does the organisation want to achieve? What does it believe in? What type of relationship does it want with its stakeholders?
IN SUMMARY: social media is turning into a specialist role for people with multi-disciplinary skills. The ones who rise to the top will be those who respect other specialities, ask for advice, and follow a STRATEGY.