I had a short yet interesting twitter discussion the other day with Jim Durbin, a social media recruiter, about social media and commissions. It then evolved into a brief discussion about the different roles in social media. I think Jim was perhaps insinuating that I thought social media was just about community management. It’s not.
At the core, social media is about a direct relationship-conversation-engagement-dialogue-poke-nudge-reciprocal-follow between a brand and a consumer. In my mind which has been wrong many times, community management serves as the execution arm of social media in most cases. I am probably oversimplifying it a bit but I think you catch my drift.
There are several other job functions that also fit beneath the social media center of responsibility. Here is the way I see it:
Social Media Strategist: This person is responsible for defining a global strategy which includes training, corporate blogs, community applications & capabilities, Youtube, etc. They are responsible for providing guidance to other marketing groups and geographies; specifically to managers who wish to employ a social media program or initiative. They may help execute in some cases.
Community Manager: A community manager usually manages an editorial calendar for a blog/community, a twitter account and various third party social channels. They may also be responsible for managing a social listening platform like Radian6 and filtering/assigning conversations to others in the business unit. Sometimes they may even organize in person events (or Townhalls) to get feedback from the community. They are the face of the brand. Conversations are at the core of their job responsibility.
Social Media Manager: This is a hybrid role; and may define strategy as well as execute. They own marketing campaigns and probably manage an agency or vendor. They may also be in charge of buying media within social media channels like Facebook, Digg, etc. They may work closely with community managers to leverage/integrate the conversational elements into each campaign.
Public Relations: In many organizations, PR serves as a pivotal role in social media. They usually blog and use twitter. They also have relationships with external bloggers; and may attempt to seed stories to influencers.
Social Media Metrics: I don’t know what an official title would be; but this person would be responsible for defining a social media metrics framework (both on and off domain) and reporting the results back up to management. They may even make specific, data driven recommendations about a given campaign. In some organizations, metrics may be the responsibility of any of the above positions.
Legal: Usually a lawyer, duh; but the responsibilities of one working to support social media would involve keeping up to date with FTC guidelines related to blogging and user generated content. They may also read/review terms and conditions when employing social media capabilities on a corporate domain.
Privacy/Security: This position is vital and they usually work closely with legal. At Yahoo!, we called them the Paranoids. They are interested in not only protecting the privacy of corporate assets, but they also ensure that marketing organizations abide by privacy laws on the Internet.
Customer Support: Depending on the size of the organization, there may or may not be a dedicated resource from the customer support group that manages social media opportunities. Essentially, the role would be to find opportunities on the web that may run a sour situation into a sweet one; and delight customers on the web.
Ad Sales: I am a little torn on this. I am not completely sure if this would be a social media position or a sales position. Nonetheless, if this person is selling ad space at Yahoo, Digg or similar site, they will need to fully understand the dynamics of the communities they represent, which would require some level of participation.
Employees: Some organizations empower their employees to participate in social media on behalf of the company. Of course, this participation is done above and beyond what their normal job responsibilities entail.
Also, in 2009 I wrote a post about how to build a social media team. Much of it is still relevant today.