Flickr User: TimmyGunz
I really do hate this question. The public "owns" social media. It's a communications professional's job, within that environment, to ensure that the organization he or she represents maintains a position as a welcome member of those communities.
As with a great many things, though, I have to look at this as a case of a topic that's frequently poorly expressed and considered, rather than completely without value.
Vocus recently tried to tackle this topic in a recent survey and, in so doing, exposed some fallacies surrounding this persistent discussion.
Ownership of social media and blogging is still undecided: PR and marketing each have a strong sense of ownership. 43% of PR professionals feel they should own social media, while 34% of marketers make the same claim.
Here's a concept: Social media principles should be integrated throughout the respective disciplines of public relations and marketing (as well as other communications disciplines), and pursued in cooperation.
37% of PR professionals think PR should own the corporate blog versus 23% of marketers expressing the same sentiment.
Corporate communications is a PR discipline, much more so than a marketing one. Doesn't matter if the platform under contention is a blog or a wet clay tablet. Now, if a blog presented marketing-related content (maybe akin to what DellOutlet does on Twitter) then a case can be made. However, the term "corporate" is critical in this instance.
Two parallel ideas are at work here:
- Every communications function within an organization needs to figure out what social media means to them.
- This means that, while no one functional group "owns" social media, there must be some agreement as to which aspects, channels, techniques or audiences are best addressed by each discipline.