Where Does Social Media Sit?

I did a bit of research in various businesses, organisations, brands and startups, and I found two main models for social media teams:

  • 1:All: one centralised social media team catering to the whole organisation and its needs;
  • 1:1: one social media team for each department (e.g. a customer service social media team, a PR social media team).

While social media teams are often sandboxed within Marketing, the truth is that social media fits anywhere. Here are a few examples of just that:

  • Customer care: the outlet of the 21st century is online, and so is its customer service. Why wait on the phone to speak to a customer representative when you can easily talk to them in 140 characters and have a quick (or almost immediate) response?
  • PR: people will always talk about your brand, whether you're on social media or not. Social media gives you the opportunity to connect with these people, while developing relationships with influencers and the general public - which is the essence of what Public Relations is/should be.
  • Branding team: the main aim of the brand team is to 'protect' the brand's reputation and continuously monitor it. This can be achieved with social listening, to see how your brand is perceived by your existing and potential customers, as well as detractors and competitors.
  • Products & Development: did your latest update work? Did it introduce any faults? How is your latest product generally perceived? Social listening can help you find those conversations, which you can use to further develop your products and services.
  • Research: pick up the keywords related to your business and see how they match against your brand and others. For instance, if you're in the telecommunications sector, see how people associate keywords like "broadband", "mobile", "phone" and "reception" with your brand, and do the same for your competitors. Social listening can help you see your share of voice in the industry - do people talk more about you, or your main competitor(s)? If so, is it in a positive way or with a negative connotation?
  • Content & Design: who says that you have to do all the hard work? Crowdsourcing your content is a great way to identify influencers and use the content that they already have about you, while crediting them for their hard work. This results in a win-win situation - you get the content, the content creator gets the recognition, moving them to do more and/or get the word out about you.
  • Sales: instead of waiting to get customers, why not proactively get some more? Besides targeting your own social/online communities, target people who may be interested in what you have to offer. Here's where social ads come into place: you can target people based on where they are, what they're interested in, and based on affinity, and this is what you want to utilise as much as you can. You can target people who like the pages of your competitors, or similar pages within your sector. Social platforms like Facebook can go even deeper and let you target people based on personal information that they've provided - from age to relationship status, from work status to current location.


Where social media sits in a business ultimately comes down to cost, resources, and how the organisation is built: if you have limited resources, it's probably not sensible to have one social media team for every department in your organisation.

In an ideal organisation, social media is taken (seriously) as the source of meaningful data that can shape a business, and the medium to output data-driven signals out to the general public. It should therefore be in a position that acknowledges just that.

It's this type of setup that turns a business into a data-driven business.

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