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Where Should Social Media Sit in an Organization?

February 23, 2018 | By Laura Sudnik

  • Almost every part of an organization incorporates social media into some aspect of its programs
  • Many organizations are divided about which function should own social media
  • No matter where social media sits, the role of social media requires cross-functional interlock, sharing and collaboration

Determining where the social media function should sit in a b-to-b organization continues to be a top question we hear during inquiries regarding corporate social strategy. Should social media be owned by corporate communications because it involves a lot of messaging? Should it be owned by digital marketing to ensure alignment with the Web site and other entities? Should there be a team, and should roles be tactical or focused on strategy?

Social Media Organization

In many organizations, the need to build and support social engagement has grown through corporate communications as one way to share news about the organization. As programs evolve and more business functions incorporate social media into their marketing efforts, support of social media is building. As a result, many organizations’ social teams are relegated to a more tactical role that involves taking orders to manage the cumbersome social editorial calendar and an endless number of accounts. Others may face more internal fighting for ownership of social channels and planning.

To begin mitigating these challenges, take an objective look at the organization’s structure and answer the following five questions:

  • What are the responsibilities of this position and function?
  • What is the organization’s social strategy?
  • Which function possesses the ideal skill set to support this driving need?
  • Which position(s) sit at the crux of content and communications development?
  • What resources and staffing are available to support the organization’s social efforts?

The answers to these questions will help guide where the social media function should sit in the organization. In the marketplace, we see communications continuing to own or have a strong role in any social operations activity. There is natural alignment between communications planning; understanding and overseeing customer service needs; and familiarity with issues, complexities and challenges the organization may be facing (both public and undisclosed). Like communications, social operations manages a social editorial calendar that maps out the promotions and events for the months ahead, which is why we also see content marketing closely linked to social operations activity.

Above all, the most pressing requirement for a social media function is establishing cross-functional interlock. To meet this requirement, organizations should put together a social steering committee that meets regularly, including representatives from marketing, communications, sales enablement, recruiting and digital marketing. This committee should act as the key decisionmakers for determining the strategic direction of the organization and creating the social strategy and supporting measurement, and committee members should serve as social ambassadors for their respective functions.

A well-designed social operations hub centralizes key responsibilities while allowing scalability across the organization, increasing brand engagement and reducing brand risk. The right individual or fit for the organization is someone who can work across numerous functions, manage social programming requests in alignment with the overall corporate strategy, and be comfortable with the most important task of responding to and engaging with followers.

We want to hear about your social media function online and in person! SiriusDecisions 2018 Summit is less than 90 days away, and we’d love to see you there. We’ll have a track session dedicated to social media management: “Brand and Communications Infrastructure: A Capabilities-Driven View of the Stack That Drives Growth.” Visit our Summit event site for all the details and a link to register.

In the meantime, please take our one-question survey to tell us about your organization’s social media reporting structure!

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May 8-10, 2018 | Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

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