Social Media: What’s Your Role?

In my very recent past life, I was in advertising and social media was a tiny appendage hanging off massive strategic marketing plans. This past week was week one as a Radian6 community manager, and that appendage has turned massive.

If I thought I was involved in social media before, I had (more than slightly) miscalculated. This beautiful social beast is all around me. It is my day. Now, I’m working to understand this new relationship with the social web and make it as meaningful as possible. My new title as community manager is the very essence of social creation. It’s blogging, listening, responding and engaging with the community. And that may just be my morning. I need to become my title. And that’s my new goal.

As part of Radian6 training, I looked at other roles and how they’re involved in social media. In reality, nearly every job description touches it to some extent, some being larger than others. My father is a lawyer and uses LinkedIn to connect with Clients. My doctor and I talk about the WebMD app. The local consignment shop is offering 20% off to Facebook friends. No longer a small appendage.

So how does a typical organization use social media in their business practices?

  • Customer service. As more and more customers utilize social media as an outlet for their good, bad and ugly commentary, customer service needs to be there. No longer can CSRs wait by the phone to solve problems. They need to respond in this new environment.
  • Marketing. While customer service is listening and responding, marketing is engaging. Marketing can utilize social media to establish relationships with customers, create brand awareness, build brand equity and be the means to execute mass media messages. And that’s just a start. Back in 2008, Chris Brogan wrote about 50 ways marketers can use social media. Check it out.
  • HR. Social media is a massive job bank. Resumes are diminishing in power as networking takes charge in the social space. And when networking used to be more of a localized approach, it is now international as we connect online. There are Facebook pages dedicated to careers for companies such as Wells Fargo and Hyatt Hotels.
  • IT. When it was once all about ROI on company websites, ROI now speaks the language of Facebook likes and Twitter followers. IT needs to keep companies afloat on the latest technologies (anyone remember FBML?!) as well as plug social media sites into theirs for the utmost integration.
  • Finance. Blogs and forums are walloping with great information for CFOs and accounting departments to learn and bond with others in their world. The American Express Open Forum is a great example of a community of business people coming together to gain insights and share ideas.
  • Upper Management. Much like the finance department, utilizing relevant blogs and forums to engage is a great outlet for learning and building relationships. At the same time, social media opens doors for direct contact with customers. Contributing to a blog or utilizing Twitter can break down barriers between customers and the C-Suite to create a dialogue and increase brand retention. Just look at Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh.

If you were wondering why I jumped head first into this new job, it’s because of that lone appendage. I know there’s something special about it in the way it affects everyone in their personal and professional lives. I had to be part of it now. Are you?


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