Tactically Speaking, Who Should “Own” Social Media?

As more and more social media channels pop up among an overwhelming, dizzying array of networks to manage, e.g., Pinterest, Instagram, SlideShare, the big debate on who should control social media within an organization is igniting.

Many of my PR colleagues believe that PR agencies should advise on PR strategy but leave the community management, e.g., day-to-day tweeting, posting, responding, to internal marketing folks. While the agency handles our clients’ social media needs on a case-by-case basis – whether developing an overall strategy, recommending occasional posts or engaging in soup-to-nuts social management – we often have a far better grasp on the content than our internal counterparts. Why? Because we operate as an extension of the team that doesn’t drink the corporate Kool-aid. We are objective.


In many ways, social media should be approached from the same perspective as traditional PR—It’s the job of the agency and the account team to learn our clients’ businesses inside and out. As such, we often find ourselves involved in business strategy conversations with our clients—well beyond the realm of PR—as we have invested ourselves in their business as well as the overall marketplace. This is critical to the success of the PR program and our ability to develop poignant bylines and media pitches and advise on analyst relations strategies and tactics, etc. Social media falls into the same bucket— we already know the hot topics as well as which hot buttons to press or avoid. In the end, a unified social media approach will yield better results than parsing it out. After all, how can you advise on strategy if you don’t know the tactics?

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