You know PR should always be in charge of all Social Media.
No, Public Relations people don’t have all the skills needed to handle all aspects of Social Media. They can’t do Social Media marketing, analytics (beyond buzz and sentiment analysis), or sales, for example.
We need to create a whole new definition of ROI for Social Media.
You have to listen first in Social Media.
Hmm… What if no one’s talking about you yet? You find really quickly there’s nothing to listen to and you really need to get people talking.
But in Social Media, there are a lot of conflicting opinions about:
- CONTROL: Who should control it – PR, Marketing, another department?
- MEASUREMENT: Do traditional concepts of ROI apply to it?
- PRIORITIES: What’s most important to do first – listen, strategize or create goals?
- Customer Service
- Marketing, Sales & Advertising
- Public Relations
- Market Research
- Recruiting & HR
- Lead Generation
Is there a corporate function that Social Media is NOT involved in? Maybe only accounting!
The answer for your company to the controversies above depends on what you’re using it for. Just a few examples:
- Customer Service:
- If you’re a Fortune 500 B2C company, it makes a lot of sense to use Social Media for customer service.
- If you’re a small B2B business, there may be little to no Social Media Customer Service work for you to do. B2B social media is different!
- Market Research: If your company is struggling to adapt to current market conditions, you could get a lot out of Social Media Market Research .You could use Facebook ads to reach the exact audience you want to survey, or survey your existing Twitter followers and Facebook fans.
- HR: If you’re in the HR department, you might use LinkedIn to recruit ideal candidates.
- Sales has done well both with B2C use of Twitter and B2B use of LinkedIn
And in each case, the measures of success differ. It’s not always ROI. In my work as an Internet marketing strategy consultant, we always look at:
- Customer Service: Do you currently measure customer service success with ROI? I’m betting most companies do not, and Social Media Customer Service probably wouldn’t be measured that way either. It might involve other metrics like loyalty, word of mouth, testimonials, percentage of challenging customers retained, etc.
- Market Research: I recently heard a great story about how Select Comfort used Social Media Market Research to turn their company around. Some say this saved the company. What’s the ROI there? You didn’t go out of business.
- Public Relations has never had an accurate ROI measurement. The wanky technique of comparing exposure to cost of ad space is still not ROI, because it’s not based on earned revenue. But value can be assigned to exposure and the SEO gains from exposure that contains links.
- HR: What’s the value of proactive recruiting if it ensures you find a higher level of talent? Is it the lifetime impact of those employees on your company?
- Marketing, Advertising & Sales: For marketing, advertising and sales, it’s just the same old ROI as we’ve always used. In B2B sales, a $30-100/month subscription leads to a $450,000 deal you wouldn’t have made anywhereelse, that’s a heck of an ROI.
But as long as everyone insists on talking about Social Media as if it has only one or two functions, we’ll remain confused.
Why is there more than one way to do Social Media? Because there’s more than one department in each company, and because even the same departments at different companies have different goals and priorities.
Let’s get specific about what we’re talking about and move on to more productive conversations.
Next time you talk to a Social Media expert, ask them what they know specifically about:
- Social Media PR
- Social Media Market Research
- Social Media Advertising
- Social Media Marketing
- Social Media Sales
- Social Media Customer Service
- Social Media Reputation Management
I guarantee there will be less confusion and more results.