Written by Rick Mans

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If you wonder who should “own” social media in your organisation, you miss the point

I was just reading the article ‘Who should “own” social media within an organisation’ by Natalie Cowan on Econsultancy. This article makes some good points on where ownership should be, though it misses the boat completely in the last paragraph:

So despite the obvious (and sometimes compelling) arguments for social media ownership within an organisation sitting with one department or the other (or even an individual), there really is only one person who can own social media for any company, and that’s the customer.

I would say that is the worst thing you can do as an organization. Ownership should be within the organization, especially since an organization has it own values and vision. When applying social as a design element you take those values and vision in account. You might listen to your customers for the details, though you should be stubborn on vision but flexible on the details. Since social media is not about channels, it is about designing a social experience. Channels are controlled and owned by customers (actually big corporations own the channels) the experiences on those channels are a result of your design and if you design well you deliver a great customer experience on those channels.

It is not about owning the media, it is about owning the process. Or as Natalie Cowan describes it in her article: creating a seamless customer experience.  Even though Social Design  is most often seen as an end result, or as an activity on Twitter, Facebook ,Pinterest or another social media platform, it is more than that.  Social Design is in its most effective form a way for solving problems and discovering new opportunities. It is a process, not a channel not a business model, it is an activity, it is a set of design principles which enable you to make truly social experiences. Experiences that connect, that people want to trust, to which they can relate, where they want to participate with friends or strangers, to which they want to contribute with their time and efforts and experiences that they can share with others.

So if you are wondering who should own social media in your organisation you are not creating a truly social experience, you are just putting social on top, something next to existing processes and existing experiences. Applying social as a design principle is going beyond ‘being great’ on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. It is a fundamental change in how business are being run, organized and how businesses and their stakeholders interact and think.