Marketing Bootcamp

Why It Doesn't Matter Who 'Owns' Social Media

Why It Doesn't Matter Who 'Owns' Social Media
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When social media first emerged, brands were skeptical, but companies started to pay attention as social media’s influence grew.

The convergence of technology and the rise of the empowered consumer created the perfect wave for social media to ride into prominence. Soon after came the battle for internal ownership of social media management. Did it fall under HR since employees were using it or marketing since it could be used as a branding vehicle? Was it customer service’s domain since consumers were reaching brands via social with product or service related requests? In more than 60 percent of companies today, PR departments are responsible for social media.

Rightly so. After all, the Public Relations Society of America defines public relations as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

While PR departments were basking in their victory, social media continued to evolve, blurring the lines between owned and earned media. It soon became clear that everyone from sales to IT had a stake in their brand’s social media presence. Some of you are rolling your eyes right now. It seems obvious, especially with organic Facebook reach on the verge of extinction, but a majority of brands still manage social media in a silo.

Social media failure today is often not a PR or a marketing problem, but an organizational problem. So how can brands overcome the social (or anti-social) organization challenge? Below are three ways to get started.

1. Communicate. 

Schedule regular chats with different teams across your organization, including marketing, sales, advertising, human resources and IT. Use these meetings as an opportunity to identify collaboration opportunities for content, data and processes. Giving your colleagues a sense of ownership of your social strategy will increase their likelihood and willingness to help.

2. Align. 

Do your social media goals align to your communication and business goals? If not, you’re doing it wrong. While social media isn’t the only means to an end, it can play a critical role in achieving your desired business results. Is your goal to drive more in-store traffic? Then make sure your messaging, whether one-off or in a campaign, supports that goal.

3. Share. 

Other teams within your organization can benefit from what you’ve learned. For example, if you find that a large portion of your Facebook audience is located in a specific geographic location, your direct mail team may consider a mailing to that area. Your business development team may look into opening a brick-and-mortar in that area.

The opposite is also true; you can incorporate lessons from your colleagues into your social strategy. Say your email marketing team found success with specific email copy and imagery. Try adjusting that copy and imagery for social posts.

Consumers don’t care which department owns social media. They care about the holistic experience you’re providing. And the only way the consumer’s experience will be truly holistic is if you push for closer collaboration, align your goals and share results.

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