Who Should Own Social Media?
No doubt, most marketers today are spending more time and budget on social media. Back in January, I wrote about return on this investment (ROI) in this space (BTW, I am still waiting…)
Today, I wanted to talk about social media from the perspective of “whose job is it anyway?” Most people’s first inclination is probably to answer marketing; but in reality, the correct answer is probably everyone’s. If that is the case, the question becomes which model is most appropriate, and which functions need to work together within the chosen model?
- Centralized – In this model, social-media departments operate at a senior level within a company, reporting either to the CMO; or to the CEO in small to medium-size businesses. In a centralized model, the drawback would be if the scope of the person in charge doesn’t consider the potential impact social media can have on functions such as merchandising (for retail), R&D (for software product or tech companies) or recruitment. It is important that the centralized social media owner considers all components within a company’s ecosystem when creating the strategy.
- Decentralized – In this model, there is no social media head. Instead, employees from all parts of the business that ‘touch’ clients and potential employees–for example, customer service, marketing, community affairs, and public relations–represent the company’s brand and a piece of the social media strategy. The danger here is evident: without standardized policy and guidelines, social media can represent the brand very differently in the market.
- Hybrid – A combination of the above two models involves a centralized strategy, but decentralized execution. The position and brand’s social media ‘voice’ is owned by a few stakeholders. From there, each function involved in social media incorporates initiatives themselves. This can become a concern if there isn’t clear accountability for the success or failure of the program.
In conclusion, there doesn’t appear to be one answer to my question. In researching the right model for MindTree, there are numerous examples of successful Fortune 1000 companies running their programs in all 3 models. For now at MindTree, we have decided to have the social media head report into me, but work very closely with all facets of our business to ensure the strategy has an impact on demand and supply-side (recruiting) marketing.
Which model does your company employ?