Social media: Whose job is it anyway?

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What type of agency is best poised to handle social media marketing chores?
I gave our esteemed panel a chance to rant about who they thought should be handling the chores associated with social media. Here's some of what they had to say:

Holtz: Public relations -- what part of 'relations' don't people understand? PR is not media relations; it's the management of an organization's relationships with its public.

Lazerow: Unlike traditional marketing, social media straddles several organizations within an organization, including marketing/advertising, corporate communications/PR, CRM, product development and HR.

Liebling: Smart ones. Nimble ones. Fearless ones.

Singh: I think a digital agency that touches all parts of a marketing organization and, more broadly speaking, a company's businesses, will be able to handle the chores associated with social media the best. The reason being is that you need to understand digital at its very core to do this successfully. You also need to understand and be a part of the paid media world as increasingly social media has a large paid media component to it. And you also need to understand a business's operations (and have deep credibility and expertise) to apply social thinking to other parts of a business like product innovation and customer service beyond marketing.

Berkowitz: 360i.

Perkett: I don't know that it's just one agency, necessarily. I think that at a minimum, the PR agency needs to be involved. But -- I think the best option is a creative PR or marketing agency that has digital talent; an agency that can also create content as well as develop messages.

While these are all great responses, only two take a firm stance in favor of one type of agency. Holtz is standing his ground on the fact that the PR agency is best poised to handle these chores, and Berkowitz is certain the answer is 360i (although they may have trouble servicing every brand in the world). Singh's answer is interesting, but he traverses various functions, from paid media to product innovation to customer service (I am not saying that I disagree -- but his response does not provide an easy answer. Can't anyone make this easy for us?)

It is becoming more apparent that we are simply not in a place to make any sharp judgment. I am of the mind that you will rarely find truth in absolutes, as there are very few of them. Still, I think that as an industry we are not where we need to be when it comes to defining who should be handling social media marketing chores. 

Perhaps we are looking at this the wrong way.

Maybe the process of trying to give social media to a specific type of agency is the wrong approach; like putting a round peg in a square hole. What if the term "social media" is wrought with flaws from the onset? It was this thinking that led me to my final question.

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