Who Owns Social Media?
Posted by andrekrt
This is one of the most contested questions here at KRT. In one corner, our PR Director believes it’s closely aligned with PR and it makes sense, until the specialty grows, for PR to be the keeper. In the opposite corner, our Director of Online Marketing doesn’t think PR should have any ownership and, as an entirely new entity, social media should have its own department from the start.
To call social media ownership a hot topic for debate in the industry, is an understatement. Without doubt, the debates between our co-workers are repeated at agencies and in marketing departments across the country. But, no matter which corner you’re in, the fact remains: PR is pulling ahead.
Recently, our PR Director felt vindicated when her alma mater, USC Annenberg, issued its sixth Communication and Public Relations Generally Accepted Practices Report that seemed to definitively support her position. According to USC’s GAP report:
- More than 25 percent of companies placed between 81 to 100 percent of budgetary control over social media with PR, compared to only 12.6 percent going to marketing.
- Another 25 percent stated PR held strategic control over social media as a whole within their organizations, as opposed to only nine percent trusting it to marketing.
- Just over 25 percent of respondents said marketing held zero budgetary control, and 22 percent said marketing maintained no strategic control whatsoever.
Reading industry blogs and articles, it seems these facts ring true. More and more PR positions are requiring employees to be knowledgeable about social media and, at most companies, it’s PR’s job to run social media campaigns.
Perhaps this is due to the fact that, when it comes down to it, client-ready social media plans are eerily reminiscent of PR plans: goals and objectives, strategy, tactics and evaluation, which is now measured by analytics. Social Media guru, Aliza Sherman (@alizasherman), who we heard speak at Web 2.0, blogged about the social media strategy struggle. The entry discussed how to set up a strategic plan for the use of social media, which the KRT PR team found quite similar, if not identical, to a PR plan.
Of course, there are those in PR who think this isn’t the best practice. A recent blog post from Lonn Johnston, founder of Page One Public Relations in Silicon Valley said creative services agencies “understood a good idea and could create compelling content,” indicating a willingness to let them run social media. By Johnston’s estimation, PR is limited to understanding the creation of a social media strategy, but lacks the knowledge to most effectively budget or use it. Johnston asserts PR and marketing should work together to create content and effectively communicate through social media. In other words, it’s a team effort.
And this team approach is exactly what we’re doing at KRT. Despite good-natured bickering, our integrated team is pooling expertise, sometimes spearheaded by PR, sometimes not, to deliver the most comprehensive social media strategies to our clients. We think it works, how about you?
Who do you think should control social media? PR? Marketing? A social media specialist? Or, is the team approach best?