Where Does Social Media Belong?By Gini Dietrich

Earlier this week, Sam Fiorella wrote a blog post called, “Why Your Social Media Team Should Be PR Professionals.”

Naturally, I clicked over for a read.

I found myself nodding all the way through his blog post.

Yes, PR pros know how to manage crises.

Yes, we are trained to manage reputations.

Yes, we know the right questions to ask to create a calm before the storm.

Yes, we can train pros in other disciplines to manage themselves appropriately online.

Yes, most of the knee jerk reactions that happen in social media are done so because the community management is handled by someone without these skills.

But then I got to the comments.

Danny Brown said, “Disagree. Two words – Justine Sacco.”

And that got me thinking.

Sacco is a communications professional. She knew better. And yet…

Sitting on the Fence

Here I sit, right in the middle of the fence on the topic. So I brought up the topic yesterday while Joe Thornley, Martin Waxman, and I were recording next week’s Inside PR.

Martin’s take is that we are trained in both crisis and reputation so it makes sense to have social media reside with us.

Joe’s take is that there are plenty of skilled and experienced professionals who can handle the customer acquisition, networking, and engagement better than some PR professionals.

Yes. And yes.

As they were debating (and I continued to agree with both sides), I started to think about how we approached social media in Marketing in the Round.

As much as I would love social to belong to PR, I believe it belongs to everyone.

Social Media Belongs to Everyone

The sales team should use it to network with new prospects.

The customer service team should use it to answer questions, immediately respond to issues, and generally build loyalty.

The product team should use it for research and informal focus groups.

The marketing team should use it for customer acquisition.

The PR team should use it for reputation management, brand awareness, and to manage an issue before it becomes a crisis.

The executive team should use it for thought leadership and credibility.

And one person (or a team of people) – who has enough knowledge of each of the disciplines to be dangerous – to coordinate all of it.

That could be a PR pro, the receptionist, a computer programmer, or an engineer.

The Marketing Round

While I agree on a very high level with Sam, I also agree with Danny.

Sure, Sacco is just one person in an industry full of really talented professionals. But, to Danny’s point, it goes to show not everyone is equally equipped to handle an online crisis.

If you want to be the point person (or the middle of the marketing round) and you’re not trained in reputation and crisis, get some professional development to round out your skills.

It can belong to any of us if we’re so inclined.

Image courtesy of Geek Whisperers

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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