The big debate at yesterday’s Social Media in a Corporate Context conference focused on ownership of social media. Not that Communicate set the conference up this way; it’s just that the passions this session aroused made it the day’s standout.
PR, marketing and SEO were among the options the panel was arguing over. (Question – how many organisations have an SEO unit that sits outside marketing?) Unsurprisingly, the PRs filling the Harris Suite at Stamford Bridge voted for PR ownership.
But social media blurs the traditional delineations between these business functions, which was among the points raised in the presentation from our European CEO, Peter Granat. As often, meerkats provide a good example, as a campaign that integrates splashy mainstream advertising with a brilliantly executed social strategy.
Even for VCCP‘s award-winner there are questions around the campaign’s approach to search. Go beyond campaigns to look at all the other ways in which social media can impact your business – sales and client services, product development, recruitment, etc – and it becomes clear that this is bigger, considerably bigger, than any one department.
Like reputation itself, social media should perhaps be owned by the organisation as a whole – putting the CEO in overall charge. Sure, outreach should be managed alongside other outreach. The messaging that goes out needs to be aligned, and the messaging that comes back in needs to be addressed.
But when any part of the business can suddenly take the spotlight, every part of the business bears some responsibility. And for that to become reality, the edicts can only come from the top.