Can Anyone Really Own Social Media?

There’s a lot of debate within companies about which department should own social media. Should it be marketing? PR? Customer Service?

Here’s your easy answer: It depends.

It depends on your company. All of the departments above, and several more, are going to need to talk to consumers and have the ability to collect their real time insights. So one answer is that it should be whoever has the reliable clout to get things done when a task requires inter-departmental cooperation.                                     Image

Any of those organizational decisions has certain implications, and these will need to be addressed accordingly.

How good are your PR people at listening? If they’re going to treat Twitter as a distribution channel for press releases, you don’t want them leading your social media.

  • How in tune is your marketing team with consumers? If your creatives, like many, are so in love with their award-winning, out-of-the-box ideas, which are based on some singular key insight garnered six months ago from a research project, you’ll want to keep them away from social media.

It depends on your customer.

Are you challenged with customer service complaints? If so, you’re going to want to prioritize that function within your efforts. Otherwise the dissenting voices are likely to drown out your branding efforts.

Ultimately, if you’re asking the question in order to “set it and forget it,” hand it off to someone so you can go home at 5:00p.m. and stop thinking about it, you’re asking the wrong question.

Social media is not a new set of marketing channels. It’s a new way of relating to people who may or may not buy your products, and that will require consistent attention and input from all over your company. Smart companies use the tools as much for product development as they do for brand promotions.