Who Owns Social? 10 Critical Questions To Ask When Implementing Social Media
There is much conversation in the business community about where Social Media “belongs” in an organization. Some say that one department or another – Marketing, PR, IT, Sales, Customer Service – should lead or own it. Some say Social needs its own department (my personal favorite). Some say it’s only part of the greater communication management scenario and should roll up under all the other management initiatives via the c-Suite. The array of organizational opinions is vast and varied.
I find much of the online chatter about this topic quite tiresome, frankly, because in my mind, it misses the point completely. I admit feeling a good deal of frustration about it. Some days, I simply give up talking about it.
So, here’s my take – no one “owns” Social. IF there is an owner, proper and direct accountability needs to go hand in hand with “owning” it.
“Same as it ever way” is BS
Social is a mindset, not just another communication tool. It is not some online improved version of what we used to do yesterday. It is not purely any of what we’ve already done – it’s not advertising, it’s not lead generation, it’s not customer support, it’s not marketing, and it’s not PR. We can’t rightly call it any one of those things and be complete and honest. It might serve functions within those arenas, but it isn’t those things. Much like today’s iPhone is NOT a phone of yesteryear, Social isn’t “same as it ever was” repackaged. It’s a new way of doing business.
Social has to permeate your entire, actual, day-to-day business culture. Social business, for it to work effectively in supporting your brand and ultimately result in revenue, needs to be what everyone in your organization lives and breathes. It’s how we act, how we respond, how we create, how we develop and market products, and how we engage.
Assimilate or Die
No one gets to escape Social participation, or change, or adaptation – no exceptions. It’s not an add-on that we can use like some slave to our historical roles, moving along doing what we’ve done for the last 25, 50, or 100+ years. Your audience will not tolerate that treatment. And, your audience is who is now the boss of you.
Still, I concede that strategy is quite fluffy. Implementation – where the rubber meets the road – is what needs to happen. So, to assist in that, here are 10 critical questions to ask when implementing your Social Media.
Answer These Questions Now
- What are your high level c-Suite strategy goals and revenue expectations about Social Media participation?
- What metrics will you want to track to support these goals and expectations?
- Who will Social Media staff (managers, content creators, community managers, etc) report to?
- How will Social Media staff be individually evaluated (for hire, fire, and promotion) in the personnel process?
- Who will fund, create, execute, approve and/or veto Social Media initiatives?
- What level of cross-functional interaction and cooperation will be needed and does your culture support that now?
- Is the c-Suite ready, willing, and able to lead the cultural shift needed to support full implementation – with budget, with goal setting, and as role models?
- Do you have a strong base of expertise to support a roll-out?
- Are you prepared to rewrite your policies, procedures, and reconfigure your organization to implement Social?
- Are you willing to allow, encourage, and act upon input from customers and your employees within your business – in product development, customer service, marketing and advertising methodology, pricing, and logistics, etc?
He Who Hesitates…
Some of these questions might seem pie in the sky, but they are purposeful. The discussion they will generate in your boardroom and across your organization will enrich your ability to embrace this new mindset.Take the time to talk this through and don’t be afraid to do something new and different. You are in new territory – you don’t actually have a map.
Go on, now – you have some work to do….
[graphic by Marc_Smith]