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Who should take charge of Social Media?

July 21, 2008

Over at Social Media Explorer, Jason Falls thinks that “Social Media Is The Responsibility Of Public Relations”. In fact, that’s the title of his post

I can’t disagree more.

A toolbox, from Biltema)Image via Wikipedia

True, I’m a copywriter in an advertising agency. And our agency has a robust and talented PR division, that does a lot of things really well. But entrusting them with social media, in my opinion, would be the wrong thing.

I’ve long argued on this blog that social media is just another tool. In a post called “I’m a Billboard Marketer” I wrote:

“But it’s my sincere hope that my title be dropped soon. I hope that we’ll simply be marketers and that social media, while different from billboard media, will simply be another tool to consider in the marketers tool box.”

My point then, and my point now is that all marketers can use social media. If we restrict ‘social media’ to one department, it would be like saying that Billboards are only available to the advertising part of the agency.

But there’s no reason why a good PR campaign can’t use outdoor.

In other words, social media isn’t part of a department, it’s part of marketing. And yes, some caveats come to mind: social media might not be the best tool for building a brand from scratch. But it could be part of an overall marketing strategy.

To me, social media demands a different head space from anyone using it. I’ve written that creative teams might have a learning curve. I also think agencies need to retool some of the aspects of their business (like titles).

I can tell you what I preach at our agency: social media is a tool. It’s different for a number of reason, from traditional advertising (and even traditional online advertising), but it’s still something that a full-service agency can incorporate into the marketing toolbox.

Which is why I disagree. But I like this conversation, thanks for starting it Jason.

(Side note: thankfully Zemanta is back. I realized this weekend when plug-ins didn’t work how much I love Zemanta.)

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2008 9:03 am

    I actually do agree with you on a lot of these points, Matt. Social media is a tool. Social media should be used by everyone, regardless of discipline, in many ways. My argument is that public relations should own the responsibility for social media because of the natural connection between social media’s environment of communications and public relations being the most appropriately trained communications professionals. One specific point I think you’ll appreciate is that PR, unlike copywriting, is not primarily a persuasive medium. Sure, persuasion comes into play, but community relations is a PR function. I see social media as community relations online. I don’t want to silo social media in PR, just want to see PR professionals take responsibility for this particular communications tool. Great continuation of the talk, though. Excellent points.


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