In the early days of social media, when it was difficult to measure engagement levels and platform analytics were sketchy, it may have made sense to devote the least number of labor dollars on social media. No one really understood this new tool and what role it would eventually play in the marketing mix.
As the medium has evolved, though…management practices haven’t.
I’ve often heard the excuse that interns and lower level marketing folks are “digital natives” and take to the social media more easily. I think we can put that one to rest after almost a decade of social media.
But now, when the Internet is The Leading Influence in consumer purchasing choice… trumping all other sources, including advice from friends and family having perhaps your most important consumer contact handled by your least experienced person doesn’t make a lot of sense. In fact having your social media updating divorced from the brand management function, silo-ed all by itself or worse handled by one junior person who manages the function for a number of brands almost guarantees missed opportunities, garbled messaging and loss of focus.
Instead, let’s think about a different strategy. In our agency, the brand team has social media site updating as part of their account management responsibilities. Immersed in the brand essence, they are fluent communicating the brand message through copy and images to a variety of audiences because they work closely with the client and creative teams to do so in a variety of different forms.
Mid-senior level managers are the only ones with the experience with legal issues that can crop up, wording that works or doesn’t work for the brand and a real understanding of the target market, through the research they analyze and use to develop all of the creative programs for the brand. More experienced managers are focused. They work on one or maybe two brands, so are immersed in the brand(s)…unlike a social media intern or community manager who may work on 5- 10 brands performing one function of the marketing mix. Mid and senior level managers by stint of years of experience in marketing, can think strategically about posting and responding and creating community in the social space.
So, as we have more mid and senior managers do final edits on copy and review final creative and really write up any sensitive communication that needs to be explained to upper level management, shouldn’t we use those skills to communicate with the most important person in the mix, the consumer?
(And just to put a plug in for the intern – internships are supposed to be about learning from more senior managers. Get your interns involved in helping you do the tasks on your plate so they can learn. Having them take over the entire social media function doesn’t help the brand or the intern.)
(Photo credit http://blog.onthebar.com)
Maryanne Conlin is CEO of RedRopes Marketing, a consulting firm focused on green and sustainable industries, fresh produce, food, Hispanic marketing and marketing to Moms. You can access her Sept 27 presentation at ExpoEast on Social Media Marketing for Socially Conscious Brands here Connect with her on Twitter @maryanneconlin