Who should control Social Media? PR, Marketing, Customer Service?

For some reason the question of where to place of social media on a company org chart is a thing of much debate. I have read post about how it should be in PR and I have also read people blog that it should be in customer service. I haven’t seen any post about it going under marketing, but then again, using social media for marketing is something that is done, but no one likes to talk about.

Let’s step back and reevaluate this for a moment however, why are we trying to fit the square peg that is social media, into a round whole that is PR, marketing, and customer service? Sure social media can be used to accomplish all three, but aren’t we constraining the benefits if we put aPR, marketing, or customer service in charge of it?

Or even worse, some larger companies put all three departments in charge of it. I was at a panel discussion the other week, and heard about how Microsoft does this. They have social media people in all three groups. They have enough money to start a separate social media department. Why don’t they?

How do companies benefit from having one person/department monitor and interact with people in a customer service realm, and then a different person/department on the PR side? How are meaningful relationships going to be made when the people doing these interactions only have them when discussing certain topics?

Sure some companies don’t have the funds to develop their own social media department with a C level exec etc., but they do need to give control to someone.

This person may report to a Marketing or PR Exec, but this social media guru must have control and knowledge of all three areas online. If not relationships will not be made, and certain areas of opportunities in social media will be missed.

Only by seeing all the opportunities in social media, and taking part in all of them, will social media then benefit companies in the way they are hoping.

  • http://www.zioneyemedia.com David

    Hmmm good question. I agree that there are certain levels of SM and SMM that overlap with marketing, PR, and customer service, but ultimately it should boil down to the very specifics of why social media is being used. Is it for brand marketing, product development and product loyalty purpose? Is it for business revenue generation? Is it for public and media relations? Is it for customer usability and customer relationship management? Or is it a mixture of a bunch of different directions? And if it is a mixture, then which direction is the primary cause and which direction is secondary? I believe that by finding out what direction(s) the SMM is going to be used, then the resources will then be allotted accordingly. If the direction seems to be multi-faceted, then an in-house collaborative effort between a marketing expert, a PR expert, a web guru, and a customer service rep can be gathered as a team to head this out.

    I can understand having MS do multiple social medias in different groups, and knowing how some of the groups work, it gets complicated because each group is driven by different business needs and have different infrastructures than others. The team that I was in at one point only had a core group of 10, while others I have seen were more in the realm of 30+, so different groups will have more/less resources depending on the size. And I can't even tell you the business directives that drive them.

  • http://www.changeitmarketing.com kevinurie

    Great insights David! I guess I just think that if you are only using SM to do one thing, you are missing out on the real benefits of SM.

    If you use SM to build connections and relationships with people, the PR, customer service, and marketing benefits will just fall into place.

  • http://www.zioneyemedia.com David

    The benefits are definitely there, but then will one get the fullness of these benefits by the above methods?

  • http://www.zioneyemedia.com David

    The benefits are definitely there, but then will one get the fullness of these benefits by the above methods?