SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues. Last week’s poll question: Are your company’s social media marketing efforts centrally run?
- Yes — one division handles social media outreach for the whole company 63.16%
- No — different divisions handle their own social media outreach 33.83%
- Not applicable — my company outsources its social media or doesn’t use it for marketing 3.01%
Having one division handle all social media outreach has some obvious benefits: It’s easier to maintain a consistent tone, it avoids too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen confusion and it allows for specialization. The social media mavens can handle the tweeting while everyone else can do everything else. And the approach can (hopefully) reduce the chance of a social media faux pas, although experts can commit plenty of those as well. No surprise, then, that social media is a one-division show for 63.16% of SmartBrief on Social Media readers.
But there’s a certain populist appeal to a broader social media approach. Having divisions run their own social media can provide perspectives and insights that might otherwise be missed. Who better to answer customer questions on Facebook about an issue than the employees who deal with that issue every day? And divisions often serve different constituencies or address different problems, making it natural for them to do their own outreach. This is especially apparent in an industry such as real estate, where the intense focus on local geography makes the idea of centrally run social media impractical.
Even if that’s not the case with your company, you might want to get a wider range of voices involved. Social media is all about engagement, and customers want to know there are real people on the other side of the computer screen. Involving employees normally left out of the process can add a personal touch and humanize the company. Just as important, it can help employees who don’t usually interact with customers to understand their needs and frustrations before they start throwing rocks.
There are risks, to be sure, and employees shouldn’t be given free rein to do whatever they want on social media. But letting different divisions handle their own outreach can allow for fast, carefully targeted communications.
How does your company handle its social media? What are the pros and cons of this approach?