Who Should be driving your Social Media Strategy?


The question may seem trivial, but it is on top of many organizations these days.

Here are two ways of looking at it, which I hope you will find useful when designing your organization. Let me know what you think!

A strategic perspective is the foundation for a social media effort to build a sustaining impact. When it comes to questions of social media strategy “ownership,” it’s clear sole responsibility for it doesn’t fit nicely into a box on today’s org charts.

Three criteria seem necessary for taking on social media responsibilities in corporations:

  1. Ability to always be on message for the brand, which implies effectively linking brand strategy to messaging
  2. Appropriate sensibilities for social media channels
  3. Diverse communication skills that work across various social media channels

Sometimes those people are in marketing communications, but you may find them in other parts of a company as well. They may also exist outside a company’s employee base; that’s fine too.

Most importantly, you want the best strategic writers crafting the communication. Where are these people located in and around your company? Find them wherever they may be!

There Are Huge Opportunities in a Collaborative Social Media Strategy

Take the examples of Southwest Airlines, that serve as lessons for everyone else:

  • There’s internal collaboration: marketing creates the feel for its social media channels, and the communications team (through its emerging media group) drives content. The legal and investor relations departments are also closely involved.
  • All emerging media team employees complete customer service training to ensure they are well-prepared to address customer questions and issues directly and expeditiously.
  • Southwest Airlines works with outside partners as well, including Kansas City-based VML and Buddy Media.
  • Southwest reaches out specifically to influencers: travel bloggers, brand fanatics, avid travelers, and importantly, employees all contribute content.
  • To increase broader employee involvement, Southwest organized an internal social media conference (BlogCon) in January 2011 to bring employee contributors into Dallas for overviews and training on social media and content creation (plus receiving Southwest Airlines-logoed Flip cameras). This is in addition to sponsoring a social media club within the company.

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