Notes Toward a Social Media Org Chart
By: Jerry Ascierto
December 16, 2017
Where does social media fit in your organization? Who owns it? And how should the work be divvied up among your team members, by platform, subject matter, area of expertise?
As any brand communicator knows, those questions aren’t as simple as they seem. And the bigger the organization, the more complicated those questions may become. After all, social media affects so many different business divisions—marketing, employee communications, sales and public relations, to name a few—and every organization has its own nuances and needs.
But while it’s difficult enough to figure out the most effective ways to use each social media platform, building a clear social media org chart is every bit as important as crafting great social media posts.
At technology B2B giant Qualcomm—which has 224 worldwide locations and more than 33,000 employees—global head of social marketing Jessica Jensen likes to offer each person 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 business, allowing them to develop subject-matter expertise in the given vertical. Importantly, nobody is assigned a specific social media platform—there’s no one Facebook expert, for instance–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 on that skillset, 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 rule isn’t strictly applied geographically.
“It’s always better for it be centralized but the only 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.
From a 50,000-foot view, Jensen sees Qualcomm’s social media efforts as having three main pillars.
The first is the corporate effort—what is the Qualcomm handle doing on Twitter or Facebook? The second aspect concerns the company’s executive social efforts—what kind of content and engagement is Qualcomm focusing on in terms of positioning their executives as personalities and thought leaders? And the third aspect is social influencers, which for Qualcomm includes tech enthusiasts with big followings, more micro-influencers in the classic sense.
And at Qualcomm, those 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.
Connect with Jessica: @jkbjensen
Connect with Jerry: @Jascierto