I got involved in my first discussion on Quora last week – about the ownership of social media.
The discussion involved a bit too much of what is now a rather tired and largely irrelevant PR vs marketing debate but interesting stuff nonetheless. Despite my allegiance to Social PR, like a number of others who commented, I felt the discussion needed to move beyond PR and marketing. Now that it is established (albeit continuously developing), social media is becoming more about people and less about the technology. It has an impact (or should) on all aspects of business, particularly for large companies/brands.
Take location marketing. Still relatively new. Companies are feeling their way but effective use of networks such as Foursquare and Facebook Places requires a joined approach. It’s the companies that navigate and connect all the necessary departments effectively around social media activity that will be the winners.
Aside from Marketing and PR, B2C location marketing imposes demands on Internal Comms, HR, Production and Sales. There have been some great examples – B2C – including Fresh Networks’ Foursquare campaign for Jimmy Choo’s new trainers last year – well documented (probably because it was one of the first in the UK). Macdonald’s experimental campaign (US) drew criticism for lack of measurement but fair cop, they did say they were only putting a toe in the water.
Marketing may push a message out about a discount, new store opening or happy hour but the whole thing could backfire if the outlet concerned is not prepared for the increased custom that results from an attractive offer that spreads virally. Enough staff (HR), fully briefed on the offer (marketing/internal comms) and equipped with enough product (production/supply chain) calls for a highly co-ordinated approach. And then there’s the measurement (back to marketing).
This is particularly challenging for companies that are still scratching their heads about whether PR or Marketing should lead. Given the pressing need to grasp the nettle I’m amazed these debates still rage but the larger the company, the longer decisions take.
So, no matter who ‘owns’ social media, comms strategy now demands better interdisciplinary communication than ever. Whether it is customers or colleagues, you name it, social media touches every part of business in one way or another and Social PR needs to respond accordingly with ever more robust planning and timelines.
Who else is using location networks effectively? They are naturally a more B2C tool but B2B users can also reap the benefits, by weaving them into SEO strategies and using them to enhance/support networking.