Posted by: Marshall Sponder | July 20, 2008

Social Media Czar – a job I would not mind being

But…. I’m if I’d ever be doing such a job, I’d be a much more “data analytic” driven than the typical person who is now being considered for such a role –  I noticed most people who end up being in this “new role” are of a communications and public relations “elk” which is not really my forte (though I do have a marketing management certificate – but I don’t think like a PR or Marketing Person, I see my self grounded in Web Analytics and Art).

The post on  Companies need Social Media Czars in Social Media Today is totally right on – and sorely lacking in most major corporations – though a few are beginning to wake up and smell the music .. including Ford, Intel and Pepsi, according the post on Social Media Czars, above:

“…how large Fortune 100 companies are starting to hire new kinds of leaders to help them navigate the social media space. Talking about Ford, Intel and Pepsi, the article discussed the trend towards hiring social media czars that coordinate social media efforts across the organization within and beyond the marketing departments. I believe it is just a matter of time before most organizations either have dedicated roles like this or push their employees (or specially identified employees) to go through a social media boot camp of sorts.

They way consumers communicate and interact has fundamentally changed.”

This is true – and most corporations haven’t figured it out yet – just go to almost any corporation and ask who “owns” social media and you’ll find out a variety of answers but little “authority” to go cross channel – anything that exists, I bet, is stuck in one vertical or another, or assigned to a particular project or set of projects.

There’s no that goes from one side of the company to the other – and unifies their social media strategy … that is, if the even have a strategy.

In an AdWeek article on Why Brands Need a New Kind of Leader it was said:

“…..If there’s a blueprint for newbies like Ford, it can be found in the IT industry. There, companies like Dell, Cisco and Intel have built up social-media teams over the past 18 months. At Intel, Bob Duffy leads a five-person team that is trying to change how Intel talks to its customers. Intel began the group in late 2006. For Duffy, the challenge is to move from a singular corporate voice to hundreds of voices of Intel’s greatest asset: its engineers. The company has embarked on an ambitious project to connect customers with its engineers. The idea: Intel will build credibility among the tough-to-impress IT crowd by putting its engineers out front, rather than a media-trained spokesperson. So far, 150 engineers have been selected to contribute as bloggers on Intel sites and on other tech sites.

“…They’re silo oriented and they don’t talk to each other.”

It was this realization that led Ford to bring in Monty to lead a five-person social- media team. Monty’s group will reside within corporate communications at Ford, but its work will extend into other parts of the company, said Day. The diverse charter of the group is evidenced in the 50 candidates he interviewed over the past six months: some were in PR, but many more came from marketing or even technology backgrounds.

The risk of specialized social-media czars is it becomes yet another marketing function, said Dachis. Indeed, some companies approach the role with a definite focus on finding new ways to market to consumers. Pepsi, for instance, describes its nascent social-media team in a job posting as “responsible for reaching new audiences, bloggers, Facebookers and other key influentials that live in the online world.” (A PepsiCo rep declined to make an executive available to discuss the role, e-mailing a statement that the company is “willing to put more resources into new media as it evolves to ensure that our message is heard.”)

I guess I’d enjoy the challenge of this kind of job provided I could remain a Web Analyst while doing it – because that’s what grounds me ….. rooted in data, not opinions.

But this goes along with my philosophy that Web Analytics Group could be the place to start, and grow this up and out …… why?

Because we, the Web Analysts, have the best shot at building a measurement platform that works – while communications and public relations will focus on marketing that may not, at the end of the day, translate into ROI Metrics.

I want to turn the key one more time here ….  and bring in a personal story – my work for the Web Analytics Association as Director of Social Media; my committee is the largest at the WAA and I built it from scratch when I was elected to the Board of Directors a little more than a year ago.

Recently I had a conversation with two of my peers on the Board and it came up what great work my committee was doing in Social Media … and how “social” we’ve been (we like to socialize … after all, you can’t have social media if you don’t want to have a conversation..right?  Makes sense to me).   The opinion others had was that Social Media is “social” while Research does “research” and Advocacy does “advocacy” while Marketing Committee does “marketing” … you get the idea.

But what I said is that every committee needed to exactly the same thing I’m doing with Social Media Committee – outreach, creating content which can be accessed, creating conversations that can grow … creating awareness and empthy for the work the Web Analytics Association does.

And you know what – the next day, after that conversation, I suddenly realized that Social Media is not an activity ….. Social Media is a “State of Being” … it isn’t a vertical – it’s a level … and it permeates every channel, every committee, every part of a company.

The fact that most corporations don’t have that awareness, and even the Web Analytics Association is only just learning this, highlights the need for “Social Media Czars” so that at least, some one “owns” all of this … because, without “ownership” and a budget to go with it … no one can buy anything or really accomplish much.

And one more word … sometimes, in an organization, there are individuals that are active in Social Media, and grow it from the ground up (grassroots) – and it’s great when a company or corporation sees that grassroots growth and fosters it – lets it grow.   Problem is .. without the “Social Media Czar” … who is the entity that’s responsible for letting grassroots efforts grow .. who is there to foster them?

The answer is too often … no one.  The grassroots efforts die … because they are neglected (corporations have other priorities and social media, might not be one of them) and those move on to other opportunities that are more purely social media.

But that doesn’t need to happen, and it shouldn’t – and the “Social Media Czar” and that group -ought to be aware of Social Media, grassroots Social Media, and help it grow, in fact, feed it with good social analytic data and a budget to go with it.

By the way, if you want to learn more about the work my committee does with Social Media within the Web Analytics Association – read this post

Social Media Commiteee Meeting 7-17-08

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  1. I completely agree that the grassroots efforts die because they are neglected and if you don’t have a dedicated “Social Media Czar” no one will be doing this job. And this is NOT an “online community manager” – we are talking about a well-connected marketing strategist and analyst whose role is not just abserve and moderate, but plan and execute.

  2. Thanks Nataliya! I have been thinking of the challenges I’ve faced but I saw that some corporations have actually embraced (addressed) those challenges with the Social Media Czar and team, which feels like the right way to go.

    I also feel a Social Media Czar could be a Web Analyst – which no one was saying, except me.

    But that goes back to the idea that measurement needs to be “baked in” from the very beginning – and the best way to do that… it to create campaigns that can be measured – and then, go ahead and measure them.

    usually we have campaigns that we’re asked to measure and produce ROI metrics on – there’s a subtle difference.

    In other words, it’s best to conceive of any campaign in a way where it can be measured – and the best person to do that ….. in an Analyst.

  3. thanks for this marshall…i completely agree with you. im a ‘social media analyst’ part of the strategy group at icrossing…I focus on measurement and analytics and stressing that any strategy needs to be data-driven…

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