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Long Live the Social Media Manager

By Jennifer Polk | September 23, 2013 | 1 Comment

We’ve all seen the headlines that start with “RIP…” or “Death to…” which indicate that a particular trend, technology, or technique is facing an impending demise. Clearly, these headlines are intended to capture your attention, disrupt your belief system and force you to see that your current approach is outdated. But, with a constant stream of content being summarized in 140 characters and lacking context for your business, it’s easy to read the headline and miss the point. So, after reading a headline that indicated that the role of social media manager was dead and that social media now belonged to everyone, I forced myself to withhold judgment and keep reading.

The article makes a point that is both real and relevant—social media impacts all aspects of the enterprise, and, is therefore becoming part of numerous roles across the organization, from Human Resources to Customer Service. Although the point is valid, the conclusion is incorrect. Yes, an organization that seeks to leverage social media to drive business results cannot rely solely on a lone individual, the Social Media Manager, to carry the torch for an entire enterprise. Yes, harnessing the power of social media for brand building, customer engagement and improved business results means becoming a social business with involvement from numerous teams to orchestrate and demonstrate this behavior.

No, the dispersion of responsibility for social media does not eliminate the need for a point of accountability.  Job titles, requirements and responsibilities may change as social media matures and becomes a core part of business strategy. However, the need for leadership and management will remain. While the CMO, CDO, or even CIO, may lead social marketing or social business strategy, execution requires someone in the driver’s seat. Even though  various teams, even front-line employees, may be empowered to use social media, someone needs to focus their efforts on the right tactics to derive value. Someone also needs to ensure the quest for value doesn’t overshadow the importance of engagement—who better than the Social Media Manager to fulfill these needs.  

The role of Social Media Manager may be undergoing a transformation, but, it is still very much alive.  In fact, the role may be more important than ever. As the impact of social media is felt, even in the far corners of your company, passion and potential will be met with persistent misunderstanding by teams and individuals who are challenged to adopt new skills and adapt to new ways of doing business.  The Social Media Manager can bridge the gap between social media strategy and tactical execution; connect various business units and functions; elevate understanding and applicability of social media across the enterprise. This is a big job and one that requires talent beyond the ability to string together a clever tweet.

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1 Comment

  • Nice post Jennifer

    One day we are going to see ( if not already) a blog that says ‘ Saying something is Dead is Dead’!

    Social media team members are your future customer behavior strategists, don’t make them work in isolation.

    – Ramesh ( Twitter @Ramesh_Ramki)