Who owns the social media agenda in companies?

In several conversations online the question is raised who should own the social media agenda in companies where PR, Marketing and Web experts are divided in different departments. The underlying reason to ask this question is that because of this division, companies risk the lack of a comprehensive social media strategy and decision making process involving social media. PR experts know the importance of having this structure in place now.

Should the Corporate Communications department, which houses the PR function and is the owner of reputation management, be in charge or is it the Marketing department, where brand PR activities are an integral part of a brand’s marketing programme?

In my view, assuming that both PR and Marketing departments ideally (should) work with social media, it’s important that both define the different roles between them on social media in order to understand their engagement with the same media and who should have responsibility for which actions. In the end both play their part to achieve common business goals and enhance the company’s reputation.

If we look at the areas which form the pillars for a social media marketing plan and who should be involved under the marketing umbrella, in short these are the areas and the experts involved:

  • Know the brand and the consumer (Marketers, PR);
  • Activate and monitor communications around the brand (Marketing Communications, PR, Event Management);
  • Respond to customer questions (Sales, Customer Service);
  • Understand the different social media platforms and how people engage on them (Social media expert, PR).

Social media is however more than just helpful for marketing. If e.g. we include the area of Issue and Crisis management, a CEO’s participating on blogs, or using social media for financial and corporate topics, in these cases, the PR function should have the leading role on social media platforms.

You could therefore even argue that because of social media, marketing and PR departments should be under one roof. What do you think? Share your comments.

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