I have posted several times both here and over on the Shamable blog my view that not one function can own all of social media. Social media in itself is a monster that can be used as an effective tool in various functional units throughout a business. Businesses who refuse to believe this, or structure themselves to share natural roles in social media, simply won’t execute nearly as well as they could have. Examples abound and I don’t think anyone who truly works in the space or follows the channel growth can argue otherwise.
Should marketers drive portions of social media activity for their business? Yes.
Should public relations be involved with social media for their business? Yes.
Should customer service be involved with social media for their business? Yes.
Despite this being well accepted, there are still numerous examples of brands – both big and small – who don’t quite grasp that. Lacking some understanding of the space in its infancy, many companies dolled out “social” responsibility to various departments. They didn’t think it through strategically. They just knew they needed to get on that train before it left the station. This has lead to many companies who now face difficulties over their social efforts because well-meaning staffers are in over their head. It doesn’t mean those folks aren’t good at what they do, but they’re just not the right person for every job.
This is why co-ownership of social channels in the enterprise environment works so well. Brand marketers know better than anyone else what sells to their target customer and their distinct talent and voice are vital to helping win new customers in the social channel.
Customer service and community professionals know better than anyone how to interact and talk the company’s core and loyal customers. They live and breathe the customer experience every day. They are a vital cog in the social machine to ensure those audiences feel connected and engaged.
Public relations are the professional communicators of a business. They message, talk and converse for a living. Their unique talents are best suited to handled the “day-to-day” brand conversation their charged, and evaluated on, to maintain and positively impact. Their contribution to social communications is uber vital as well.
My point is simple: to succeed at engaging customers and prospects in social media, everyone must contribute and drive what makes sense for their role. As professionals, we must get past the ownership mentality and look at others across our businesses as assets, not threats.
An ownership mentality over social media leads to greed, envy and jealousy. Don’t let your business go there. If you do, you’ll fail.
Embrace shared responsibility and work as a team for success.