Who should manage your social media strategy?

22 Jan

Who manages your social media?

Social media etiquetteI made a presentation at BizCamp Craigavon last weekend based around my blog about the re-launch of MySpace and how to decide what social media channels a company needs to use. There was a varied audience – public sector, voluntary sector and a number of SMEs.

Regardless of the size of the organisation, they all had similar problems – how to effectively use social as part of their marketing strategy. However, one thing that varied across every company I spoke to was who manages social.

Marketing, PR, brand managers, receptionist, work experience, the ‘young person’ in the office, owner/manager, sales… it seemed that every company had a different idea of where social should sit.
So where should social media sit?

This isn’t necessarily a problem. It’s better that social sits with someone who has the time, understands the channel and wants to see it work. But, and this is a big but, it shouldn’t just sit with someone who shows an interest, it should be in the hands of an expert.

I often ask companies if they would let the work experience student make their TV ads. Or their radio ads. Or design their brochures. The answer is always no. Would they let the ‘young person’ in the office go on TV and talk company policy to the evening news? Absolutely not.

So why let these junior staff make public statements on their behalf?

What does social media cost?

The mantra I try to preach to companies is this:

“Social media is free, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost anything”

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn*, Pinterest, WordPress etc etc… they’re all free. Account sign up takes seconds and hey presto! you’ve got a potential audience of billions all eagerly awaiting your company’s announcements. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. You need to invest time in content: free up staff to create and curate stories, develop infographics and/or produce video that your market might be interested in.

Content marketing

Your company needs to work on a content strategy for each social channel and think like publishers, not marketers. No one really cares about your organisation’s corporate social responsibility, interest levels are low about your new packaging and press releases are only useful to the press. As Tara Hunt mentions in this superb blog, there is no magic content wand.

It’s not easy, but it’s best to adopt a ‘less is more policy’: if you can’t feed the social media beast content, don’t let it out of the cage. It’s better to do one channel well, managed by someone with authority and company knowledge, than have five channels with thin content managed by the wee man on reception.

You can’t afford to just DO social; you have to BE social to succeed.

Andi Jarvis
You can find Andi on Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn

* Yes, I know, LinkedIn has a paid version, so does WordPress, but they are free forever if you choose.

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