Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Who creates social media strategy?

There’s a piece of ‘who owns social media’ research reported yesterday on PR Week, the results of which are, apparently, ‘relatively staggering’ (no, I’m not sure, either). The research, conducted by Wildfire PR, looks at who in-house marketers think should be responsible for their social media strategy.

Now I should say here that I think the report itself looks really interesting, and good on Wildfire for doing it - we all need to understand more about how in-house marketers approach (or don’t) social media strategy. It looks at the confusion over who should determine the role social media should play within the business, and the reasons marketers are adopting social media tactics (mostly because other people are, rather than for any strategic reason).  I really like the approach taken by the agency of ‘sustainable social media’, and its report that gives some sensible advice to in-house marketers on how to develop a social media strategy.

But, as ever, the response from other PROs (according to PR Week) is to ‘express shock’ at the fact that social media responsibility is spread across a number of different divisions of the company, and not all outsourced to PR agencies.

Of course it isn’t. More often than not, these days, social media strategies include sales, customer service, marketing, HR and any other bit of the business that thrives from human contact. None of these business strategies are outsourced in their entirety to PR agencies. The bits that are outsourced to PR agencies are, er, the PR strategies. And I mean PR in its widest, proper, ‘today’ sense of social communications: building relationships and conversations with an organisation’s public.

The research, I think, reflect this. In-house PR teams come out on top for creating social media (as part of marketing) strategies. About right, probably. Presumably the customer service team is responsible for social media as part of customer service, and sales for sales, etc.

As for the 20 per cent of those who think responsibility for social media lies with the IT team - well, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt, and hope they mis-heard the question.


Danny Whatmough said...

Thanks for covering the research Kate!

It's always the ownership angle that gets picked up isn't it! I actually think other elements of the research are equally as interesting, but the headlines perhaps less so :)

When it comes to ownership, I totally agree with you. No one area is going to have sole control. It's a joint effort depending on what the aims and objectives are. And if we look back at the research, it's the aims and objectives bit that is causing problems for businesses. They need to get this bit sorted first and then they can worry about who needs to take action.

Kate Hartley said...

Thanks for commenting, Danny. I thought the research was great and covered more than the article gave it credit for, particularly in how to create good objectives in the first place. It's a shame that the ownership angle is, as you say, the one that always gets picked up.

(Now wondering if I haven't just contributed to that problem...)