Social media: who do you trust to look after your pages?
Social media is a crucial communications platform for all kinds of businesses nowadays. Marketing with social media can play huge dividends if done properly. Ignore it at your peril.
But which department in your organisation has responsibility for looking after the social media pages? Is it marketing, HR, sales, IT or communications? Perhaps it’s your stakeholder engagement team, customer service, or even procurement? Or maybe you ensure that everyone contributes and plays a part?
It’s a key question that often crops up when an organisation decides to invest in social media. Whether that means training key internal personnel up to be able to use social media strategically, or whether it means clearly briefing and managing a expert digital agency to handle your social media pages – someone needs to have ultimate responsibility for making decisions, setting out clear guidelines and creating social media policy for employees.
So who might look after your social media, and what kind of organisation would benefit from this? Every organisation has different target audiences and social media objectives – so the answer may vary. Who is it for you? Is this right? It depends how (and who) you use your social media pages to engage with.
Information Technology (IT)
Traditionally, social media would have been looked after by the information technology department. In the early days, they would have been the first (and often the only) people who knew how to use it. As with any new technology, it is the early adopters who shape the technology’s functionality and user interface.
New platforms and technologies are being created all the time, and it is likely that your IT team will be the first to recognise the important ones (the ones with longevity) and see their potential for your business.
However, as social media has moved on to become an increasingly sophisticated communications tool, its management has now moved out of IT and into teams that deal with people and communications instead.
Once a social media platform has become established and usage trends are beginning to emerge, your marketing is likely to be straight onto the “who”, the “how” and the “when”.
For example, Facebook used to be the realm of the teenager, until their parents joined up. Cue a mass exodus of teens from Facebook to WhatsApp and Snapchat (hence Facebook’s recent purchase of the former for a rather eye-watering sum). Asda, for example, knows that the parents who do the shopping and childcare are waiting outside school at 2.55pm to pick the kids up and often killing time on their smartphones – so Asda posts parent-friendly content on their Facebook page at this time.
If your marketing team leads regular targeted marketing campaigns aimed at key customer segments, then they may well take the lead on your social media pages.
Human Resources (HR)
Social media is increasingly being used by recruiters to (a) locate good candidates (see Chris Brown’s LinkedIn talk), (b) eliminate unsuitable candidates, (c) monitor employee engagement – and in some unfortunate cases, highlight staff who have overstepped the mark!
In organisations that have a strong internal communications strategy, and where keeping a large number of staff informed and “on brand” in a fast-changing environment or industry, it may be the HR team that looks after social media pages, as a way of both engaging internally and ensuring that key organisational messages are also shared externally – brand positioning is as important for recruitment as it is for customer engagement. And employers are using an internal social media strategy and increasingly sophisticated social media tools to find the right people for their organisation.
Central communications training and support
Good social media business practice ensures that all departments with a communications role – whether that be internal or external – should have a sound understanding both of the role of social media in strategic communications, and the practicality of actually using the social media platforms that your organisation is investing in.
Everyone should contribute relevant content and feel a sense of ownership and empowerment with regard to social media. This can only come with good social media training and a clear social media policy.
But with everyone contributing, there needs to be a single point of responsibility to make decisions, guide the other departments on usage, provide support and manage social media projects and campaigns. For many organisations, this role is facilitated by the communications team.
Who is it in your organisation? What works best for you?
Do you have some examples of good practice in embedding social media into the whole organisation? I’d love to hear your thoughts and case studies.
To discuss social media marketing training or consultancy for your business, give me a call on 01133 20 21 21.