Marketing Blogger: Fire Your Social Media Director

Interesting concept from B2B marketing expert Paul Dunay. He says businesses should take a holistic approach to social media, not assign it to just one person — and effectively get rid of their social media directors. (Although the Chamber probably shouldn’t, since theirs is a really nice guy with a mortgage.) No, in all seriousness, I have plenty of other duties to keep me busy. And I would argue, as he does, that it still makes sense to have one person monitoring the entire social media operation, even if many people are using it. At any rate, the point is to get you thinking about getting people at all levels involved. It relates to a Smaller Indiana conference I recently attended where a speaker relayed that one large international company has no marketing department, because it feels everyone who interacts with people outside the business are, in effect, marketers:

At a recent ANA conference I was interviewing Brian Wallace VP of Digital Marketing and Media for RIM when I heard him say “2 years from now- if I still have a Director of Social Media – I should be fired!” and after thinking about that I can’t help but agree with him.

The theory here is as CMO’s appoint a head of social media in their organizations, it fosters silo-like behavior and departmentalizes social which by definition runs counter to the behavior within the organization you are trying to instill!

As the “lightning rod” for all things social at Avaya – I have tried not to accept the mantle of being the head of social media and instead be more of a caretaker of social activity across the company. I agree you need someone to know what is going on across the company socially but you should not confine social to just a few select people.

My social media team has grown from 7 people at the start to now over 75 people as part of a “virtual cross discipline team” that meets weekly about social activity. And I often wonder how will I push the barriers of that team out – to be more like 15,000 people acting socially in a coordinated, passionate way about our brand. Said differently how do we make social part of the very DNA of the firm?

Ideally, I think you need to treat the role of the Director of Social Media as a way to activate the entire organization socially and then when that’s complete – move on to something else. What’s your view?

3 thoughts on “Marketing Blogger: Fire Your Social Media Director

  1. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. It’s the old what goes around comes around routine.

  2. As someone who works in IT, I can say social media networking doesn’t come as easy to others as it does to me. Even many in my age group (20s) find it challenging beyond posting a tweet or the most basic options on Facebook or MySpace.

    I think part of it is just removing the stigma that Twitter and other sites are for X purpose. Businesses should be thinking of them as a resource. And if you were willing to pay for someone to gain certification for a computer product, or for someone to attend a class to learn to use Microsoft Office, then businesses should do the same for social networking too.

    And if you’re looking for someone to teach this supposed class, then I guess I could post my number.

    I found your blog from Paul Ogden’s Ogden on Politics. I’m enjoying the read so far.

  3. Thanks Matthew. I’d agree. I do think Twitter is a worthy complement to other marketing resources. I think our key challenge at the Chamber is spreading word about who we are and what we do. So many times it seems people think we are part of the government, and our blog and Twitter especially have really helped us alleviate that by broadcasting our various initiatives and engaging with media and owners of start-ups. As far as marketing our specific products (publications, conferences), we’ve had limited success on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. I think there’s a challenge in engaging the correct niches for those products, or at least connecting with a large number of people. But you’re right, getting bogged down in stigmas about what different media “should” be used for can handicap your ability to be creative with it.

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