Larry Brauner

I’m not asking who owns social media content, although that’s an interesting question.

I am asking who’s responsible for your social media strategy and policy? Who determines your overall social media agenda?

If you’re on your own, and you’re promoting yourself, your ideas or your business, you presumably own your social media. The buck stops with you.

However, if you don’t don’t have a plan, perhaps your social media owns you. Your social media can own you whether you’re a one person show, or whether you’re a large enterprise employing many people.

Ownership is more than simply calling the shots. It’s setting objectives, formulating strategies, devising plans and implementing them. Neglect taking responsibility for these activities, and the likely outcome will be total chaos.

If you’re on your own, you now know that you must develop a sound plan, but what if you’re a large organization? Who will own social media in your organization? Who else will participate in social media?

Here are some possibilities:

  • Marketing is a likely choice for social media ownership, since marketing typically owns traditional media and is the department most likely to turn social media into a money making proposition. In addition, social media is a good branding tool, and marketing ought to understand and own the branding process.
  • Public Relations is another possibility, since PR regularly uses media to communicate with shareholders and the general public. In a business that does little marketing through media, such as one that sells only to government agencies, PR might be a good choice to guide social media strategy and policy.
  • Human Resources can use social media to communicate with employees and must help enforce internal social media policy.
  • Information Technology can use social media to collaborate and manage work flow. Moreover, social media use can expose the company network to additional risks.  IT maintains network security and protects both the company and individual computer users from hackers, viruses and malware.
  • Knowledge Management, and Engineering can use social media to compile knowledge, collaborate and manage work flow.
  • Legal must help Marketing, PR and HR determine what they can and cannot say on websites and in other communications.

I’ve discussed the basic issues surrounding social media ownership. However, I’ve purposely ignored such factors as inexperience, skepticism, company politics, red tape, inertia, denial and whatever else may get in the way of implementing a successful social media plan.

An article that covered these issues in any detail would be too long and much too depressing for both of us, but please do read Top 10 Social Marketing Challenges.

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7 Responses to “Who Owns Social Media?”

  1. Debbie Morgan on April 13th, 2009 1:28 pm

    Hi Larry!

    You’re absolutely right, I need a better strategy for my social media marketing. I’m not very intentional with it, so I’m getting minimal results.

    Thanks for any help you can give with this.


  2. Larry Brauner on April 13th, 2009 7:43 pm

    Hi Deb,

    I’ve written many articles on social networking and social media strategies.

    The next couple of weeks I’ll be writing more about social media and social marketing, so be on the lookout.

  3. Fran and Rowena on April 13th, 2009 9:49 pm

    Larry … no “ghost” social media writers here! We do it ourselves. As real estate agents, we are creating our own online social media presence.

    And yes, it takes time and thought to create the material that reflects our vision and personality.

    Thank you. We’ll be watching for more articles from you.

  4. Mike on April 14th, 2009 8:06 am

    We are just now starting with social media - it had not been much of a focus, however, times are changing.

  5. Steve on April 14th, 2009 9:49 pm

    You are really right in saying that social networking can own you unless you have a plan. I am realizing that I need to fine tune my plan so that I become the owner, instead of it owning me :)

  6. Twitter Today: April 14, 2009 | kenneth lim . net on April 23rd, 2009 12:08 pm

    […] Who owns social media? (Via: @larrybrauner) […]

  7. techstroke on May 3rd, 2009 1:08 pm

    Yeah. Planning is important for any social media venture.

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