Who Owns Social Media at Your B2B Company?

As more B2B companies explore social media, the question of ownership always comes up. Many experienced practitioners will tell you that social media needs to pervade an entire organization and one department can’t own it. But reality must rear its ugly head and claim that your company is just getting started, and someone needs to owns it. Someone has to physically set up social profiles, create the content and post it online for the world to see.

The following examples show extreme cases of what happens when someone owns social media and proceeds according to their own agenda without strategy or goals in place. This is meant to be instructive and mildly amusing, and any resemblance to your actual B2B company is purely coincidental.

You know your social media is owned by the marketing department if

  • all posts on social profiles highlight product benefits and solutions
  • all content supports a brand platform

You know your social media is owned by the PR department if

  • every word of every tweet is reviewed to send just the right message
  • press releases, media alerts and press clips make up the bulk of your social media messaging

You know your social media is owned by the legal department if

  • all posts must be pre-approved at least 1-2 weeks before posting
  • no retweets are allowed because they might be seen as endorsements

You know your social media is owned by the IT department if

  • all content is created from a series of RSS feeds
  • complex passwords keep anyone else from updating networks

You know your social media is owned by your agency if

  • a new version of your company logo is created for each social platform
  • every update is creatively crafted to show company personality

You know your social media is owned by the intern if

  • too much textspeak appears in social updates, even on platforms where character limits are not an issue
  • occasional beer-soaked photos are shared on company accounts

So make sure you don’t fall into any of these categories and work to broaden the scope of content you post online. Are there any other scenarios where ownership of social media causes extreme behavior online? Let us know below.

Comments

  1. says

    Jeff the agency and legal department comments cracked me up! Both are PAINFULLY accurate.

    I do think you forgot the “SEO consultant”. All of those tweets would include keywords and point back to the website.

  2. says

    Great article!

    Within our company, social media lies in the social media marketing group, though we are working to make sure our employees also own a piece of it as well.

    We have launched a campaign to engage our employees in helping to leverage our social content.

    Check out SIGMA Yahtzee! http://bit.ly/fjxndl

  3. says

    Great post Jeffrey. Of course in avoiding all these categories, b2b practitioners should make sure they don’t actually fall into them all too!

  4. says

    Rebecca: Glad there was some humor here. And, yes, keyword stuffed tweets from the SEO expert would be painful. Those are probably similar to tweets to stuff trending topics and a link.

    Wendy: The Yahtzee employee engagement plan is great. Thanks for sharing. I have also heard of employee competitions to get the most blog comments.

    Rene: Yes, there are many cautionary tales in this post.

  5. says

    Jeff,

    Probably right on for large organizations but you totally missed small businesses who rarely have any of these departments. I am one of the owners and the one who owns social media at Team 1 Plastics, a small plastics manufacturer. A suggested additional one would be

    You know your social media is owned by the owner of your small business if

    They randomly participate in social media becuase they are pulled in many different directions
    They have lots of great ideas but need to delegate better and involve others inside and outside their business

    This is how I personally feel and am trying to make it more of a priority in 2011.

  6. says

    Craig

    Thanks for the comments. It is absolutely a great addition to add the small business owner perspective, as there are many more small B2B companies than large. Good luck managing your social media in 2011.

  7. says

    While all these are true, and super witty, who is the proper owner of a company’s social media strategy? implementation? design?

    There are so many elements that need to work together in order to be successful…but who (or which department) is right for the job?

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