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Who should handle social: marketing or support?

Who should handle social media, marketing or support?  For organizations wanting a positive and meaningful presence on social media, this question must be answered with thoughtful consideration. There are varying opinions among experts and I must confess I find relevancy in most of them. However, I think each business must look at a few factors when determining who will ultimately be responsible for social media.

What is the purpose?

In the quest to “become social”, this question is often overlooked. However, this should be the first step in the planning process. The rush to become a social media adopter often comes at the expense of defining why a presence is needed.  So, ask your teams, “Why do we need to be on social media?”

Each team will have a different response. The marketing team will obviously want to increase sales opportunities, while the support team will want to assist and engage customers. Both are valid reasons and both add to the success of the company. Yet, the social message would be different.

Simply put, the social message is what you are tweeting, posting or blogging. A dual message has the potential to confuse your audience. This confusion will lead to bad experiences and a bad reputation.

Who is the intended audience?

Every social communication should be made with an audience in mind. Furthermore, it should lead to a call to action, or cause a reaction. Your presence can lead to customer retention, increased sales, or serve as a way to assist customers. Most importantly, your communications will find a target. As the saying goes, “the odds of hitting your target go up dramatically when you aim at it.” Defining who you want to reach increases your chances of connecting with them properly.

Defining your audience will lead you closer to determining who should handle social media.

An alternate approach

Rather than having one team own or handle social media, a multi-presence approach may work best. Each team will have their own presence in the social spaces. This will ensure each team’s message and audience connects. Not only this, there should be collaboration.

All teams should communicate internally regarding their external message. What is the benefit? Consider a customer who reached the sales or marketing team via Twitter regarding a service related issue. With prior feedback from the support team, there is a greater chance of first contact resolution. This leads to a better overall experience for the customer. What is the alternative?

Have you experienced an uninformed response that led to a request to call or email support? That alone can be a bother. This is compounded by internal communication failures in which you must repeat your problem again to someone who had no idea you made previous contact within the organization.

It’s all about the customer

Social media has taught us much about the customer relationship. Most importantly, we understand it has empowered them to shape brand perception. What brands are handling social media well? Ask the customers! The same can be said for the brands that are failing.

We owe it to our customes, as well as our organization, to offer the best service to current and potential clients. We must be willing to meet them where they are (yes, that means social) and remove potential barriers.

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