Since even before Facebook and Twitter, back when YouTube and blogs were new on the scene, there’s been discussion and, at times, bickering about which marketing discipline should be responsible for the social media presence of a brand or organization. Should it fall under the purview of the marketing department, the PR department or an outside PR or advertising agency?
Keith Trivitt, associate director of PR at the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), wrote about the ongoing debate over ownership of social media recently over at the PR Breakfast Club blog. He says, in short, Enough fighting! “We must come to the realization that a concept that once seemed preposterous — collaboration with competitors — is fast becoming the norm for modern PR, marketing and advertising initiatives.” The different disciplines shouldn’t be fighting over territory, in other words.
I believe social media, in most cases, should be a shared effort. Parameters for messaging should be determined by the marketing folks, in close coordination with the ad and PR people, and possibly even top management. Day-to-day implementation should be handled, in most cases, by the PR people, because they are supposed to be the experts in communications. But all the marketing disciplines must have regular involvement.
It’s also essential to have good, clear lines of communication established among all the players, so all are able to have a voice if an issue, event, or online discussion goes beyond the predetermined parameters, whatever those might be for a particular brand or company.
Just as in so many other areas of business and organizational life, a lot of success in handling social media is based on planning ahead.
“Competition is indeed a great thing,” Keith Trivitt says, “but so is a collaborative sense that helps build many industries’ overall value to consumers and brands.”
Or, in the case of those of us in PR and advertising, collaboration can build value to our clients and/or bosses.