The brewing social media turf war: why advertising, marketing, and PR need to learn to play nicely togetherPosted by on September 1, 2009 at September 1, 2009 11:23 AM
There's a storm a' comin' - a rumble in backrooms and boardrooms on par with anything the Jets and Sharks might have put together, though not nearly as jaunty. The number one with a bullet rise of social media has created some significant questions as to who should "own" this space, as in this article in The Firm Voice. And while some structure is necessary, the debate here is counterproductive because it asks the wrong question. Rather than asking who should own social media, we should be looking for an answer to "how can we best collaborate to make social media better?"
PR already leads social media and digital communications at 51 percent of companies, according to the latest Digital Readiness Report. And it's true that the nature of social media, especially tools like Twitter, make it a natural fit for public relations pros to lead the way on corporate usage. However, rather than take that as the doorway to exclusive ownership, PR executives need to lead a collaborative effort to leverage these tools in an effective, thoughtful, and responsible way.
Since the public relations function is primarily concerned with reputation and brand identity/awareness - the two primary benefits of social media - it's uniquely suited to take on this role. But to truly leverage social media, like any other tool in the marketing communications toolbox, everyone needs to be able to use it. Locking that tool away in any one discipline's tackle box is a profoundly bad idea. PR should coordinate - making sure the overall plan makes sense and that each discipline and initiative that needs to be is represented in a company's overall social media strategy.
In other words - play nice and share your toys with the other kids.
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Great post, Rich. I couldn't agree more that social media needs to be shared across marketing, PR and communications. I came to this conclusion easily because I'm fortunate enough to manage all three for the small division of the company for which I work. When companies do play nice and share, they will find the power of social media is multiplied.
Posted by: Mark Palony at September 1, 2009 12:40 PM
Why can't we all just get along? Well said, Rich...social media is a tool. Just as important as knowing how to use the circular saw is the knowledge that you shouldn't use it cut sheetrock. Social media should (arguably) be in the toolbox--but the toolbox should only be opened when there's a blueprint. Bravo.
Posted by: Pamela Dickson at September 1, 2009 4:29 PM
Thanks Mark! That's a great situation you find yourself in. Social media is a fairly new field with most companies, so it'll take some time before people figure out just how much collaboration it takes to make social media work the way it can.
Pamela -- who knew Rodney King would provide social media's new rallying cry?
Posted by: Rich Goldsmith at September 1, 2009 4:53 PM
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