Depending on who you pose this question to, will depend on the answer. More often than not, the question reignites the possessive debate between marketing, communications, and brand departments on who should own the social media of a business or brand.
The answer? Anyone. Anyone who represents the brand and who interfaces with the stakeholders of the business should have a vested interest, and be given the opportunity to contribute to the social media footprint of the business.
Stakeholders can include:
- Actual client base
- Potential clients or customers
- Shareholders or Executive Committee
Furthermore, the range of stakeholders will determine the social media platforms that the business engages on. Facebook is great for engaging with the consumer (B2C), but LinkedIn is better suited for B2B operations.
How to manage social media contributors
Don’t let the thought of everyone in your organisation wanting a piece of the social media pie scare you. Integrating various parts of the business needs to be carefully managed to avoid crisis situations such as contradicting business messages, inadvertently sharing IP, releasing embargoed news, etc.
One way to manage all parties is to set up a social media council in your organisation with at least one member from sales, marketing and brand, research and development, customer service and communications. Each department offers a different perception of what the target audience wants or needs which can be vital in gaining insight into crafting social media communications.
From a content point of view, each department is able to provide their unique expertise in the form of updates, blogs or responses to queries on social media.
This can make your social media response protocol a lot easier to execute as the people in the know feel like they are a part of the impact of social media from a strategy perspective, rather than just at the point of crisis or complaint.
The process can be managed smoothly using an editorial calendar with timelines and stringent approvals. Everyone is then aware of their commitment and is able to allocate time to research and getting approval, and ideally only a one or two people are tasked with physically updating those platforms on daily, weekly or monthly basis.
The saying “too many cooks spoil the broth” can come true here so it is important to:
- Stick to a balanced, editorial calendar as much as possible
- Keep the target audience for each platform in mind so that communities are engaged and open to your messages
- Agree on the things that are not allowed to be published via social media and have all members of the social media council sign that document
- And most importantly, remember to ask yourself “would you as a consumer or future client be interested in these messages?”
Most importantly, the social media experience must be about the consumer and what he / she wants to hear. Not what the company wants to say…
Hollie Hepburn is an Account Manager on Fleishman-Hillard SA’s Digital Portfolio.