Who Owns Your Social Media Strategy?

Feb 13, 2011 by

This morning’s ClaxtonCreative .li publication (Please click on it and subscribe) hit on a very interesting topic we’re going to go a little further with. From the Econstulancy.com Website, Chris Lake of London poses an interesting question: Who should own your social media strategy: Your PR firm, your Ad agency or YOU? (BTW Econsultancy, one word of blogging advice: PERMALINKS.)

Mr. Lake goes on immediately to say he can’t see the value of either the PR firm or the Ad agency owning YOUR social media strategy.  Thinking that might be a controversial subject, he goes, but we agree with him whole heartedly.  It’s like asking the question who should own the garden of your home, your landscaper or you?

He then goes on to intelligently outline the fact that there is no way a PR firm or Ad agency can do what needs to effectively be done to run the daily operations of your social media strategy.  They should support it, help you get it set up, but they can’t, in good terms, become the voice of your company.  For one, most firms don’t have the staffing to do this or if they do, they’ll charge you as many billable hours as there are in a day times 10, and while you as a client might argue you don’t either, what a PR firm or Ad agency can’t do is respond in the same terms, emotions or with the same empathy as you or one of your employees.

Social media is about relationships.  Letting a PR firm or Ad agency be your voice means there’s going to be a disconnect from the get go.    As Lake writes: “Your people are your best asset, you cannot fake it, and you need to share the workload when it comes to having a social media strategy.” 

He’s right.  Just how we at our Dallas Public Relations firm Claxton Creative insist that product development and design can’t just be done by the engineers of your firm, neither can social media just be done by the marketing department.    If your engineers are the only ones designing your products, you’re probably making things that people don’t necessarily need or want.  Some engineer just thought it would be cool if you had this widget or that one and then they sent it over to marketing and said, “Here,  now go create some demand.” One of the premises of selling is that unfortunately, people don’t need what they don’t need.

The same goes for social media.  What if customers are complaining about a characteristic of your product online and only marketing is engaging them and simply giving them the party line?  Think of how much better your responses might be if customer service was helping craft responses, and what if the engineer who designed the widget in the first place–most likely without customer feedback–hears the complaints and suggestions and says to all, “Hey, we can fix that in our next version update.” How do you think your customers would react to that message vs. “We’re sorry you’re not enjoying how our product seems to blow up in your kitchen when you plug it in.”

You can see the opportunity for a disconnect here.  If the PR firm or Ad agency get this, it’s going to be one step further away from even the marketing department, let alone customer service or engineering, and up goes your opportunity for losing customers or alienating them. And if the account rep at your PR firm or Ad agency is insisting that they be the ones to own your social media strategy, we strongly suggest you get another PR firm or Ad agency, and one that gets it, like ours.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about strategies for responding to complaints on online platforms like Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.   That’s another entirely interesting conversation.

CLAXTON CREATIVE

Our Dallas Public Relations firm has a unique protocol we work through with your company to establish your social media strategy.  We help you decide what platforms would be the best for your company, get feedback from you and potential customers, and then help build a system for you and your company to use.  We will be there to support and guide you into the future, but we don’t believe in becoming your online voice.

Now seriously, would you sign the deed over to your landscaper just because he put the rocks, trees and grass in place for you to enjoy at your home?   We didn’t think so.

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