How Qualcomm Approaches Building a Social Media Org Chart
By: Jerry Ascierto
November 14, 2019
If you’ve ever tried to launch or revamp a social media program at your organization, your executives have probably asked the following questions:
- Where does social media fit in the organization?
- Who owns it?
- How should the work be divvied up among team members; by platform, subject matter 0r area of expertise?
As any social marketer knows, those questions aren’t always simple to answer. And the bigger the organization, the more complicated those questions may be. After all, social media affects many different business divisions—marketing, employee communications, sales and public relations, to name a few—and every arm of a given organization has its own priorities.
While it’s difficult enough to figure out the most effective ways to use each social media platform, those with experience building a clear social media org chart know that doing so is every bit as important as crafting great social media content.
At technology B2B giant Qualcomm—which has 224 worldwide locations and more than 33,000 employees—global director of digital marketing and strategy Jessica Jensen offers each staffer on the company’s social media team both vertical and lateral responsibilities.
Each team member is a dedicated social media lead for specific lines of the business, allowing them to develop subject-matter expertise in a given vertical. Importantly, nobody is assigned a specific social media platform—there’s no one Facebook expert, for instance. Instead, each team member is responsible for how their lines of business are represented on every major platform.
But then comes the lateral layer. Each person on the team is also assigned a specific social media function, such as measurement or paid, and becomes the expert in that niche, developing a deep level of understanding that can then be shared with the group and used to educate the entire organization.
At Qualcomm, the social media group sits squarely in the marketing department. But while the marketing team functions as a sort of centralized social command center for the giant company, the consolidated approach is not strictly applied geographically.
“It’s always better for it be centralized, but the exception is when it comes to regions,” says Jensen. “If you’re talking about a large Fortune 500 company, it definitely makes sense to have a framework and strategy shared with all of the regions, but the content creation, agency relationships and community management needs to sit in the regions—they have a much deeper understanding of the local social media nuances and audiences.”
Taking a 50,000-foot view, Jensen sees Qualcomm’s social media efforts as having three main pillars.
- Corporate social media. What is the Qualcomm handle doing on Twitter or Facebook?
- Executive thought leadership. What kind of content and engagement is Qualcomm focusing on in terms of positioning their executives as personalities and thought leaders?
- Influencers. Qualcomm’s influencer roster includes tech enthusiasts with big followings as well as micro-influencers.
At Qualcomm, these three pillars emanate from the marketing department. But regardless of where the social media team physically sits in an organization, it’s only becoming more integral to traditional marketing and PR efforts, a hub that bridges classic PR and cutting-edge marketing tactics.
Follow Jessica: @jkbjensen
Follow Jerry: @Jascierto
An earlier version of this article was published in What’s Shakin’ in December 2017.