The world’s biggest companies absolutely understand how important social is. Their CEOs now articulate their social media strategy. They track how they’re doing against their rivals. But by the time they come to someone like me, whose job is to actually put their plans into action, they have no idea how to get what they want.
Here’s why: We rarely have the right counterparts at these companies, which makes everything move slower. I’m working on a big project right now, and it’s going to take a year to get the kind of version we want up and running. Why? Companies haven’t empowered the right people, and they’re not hiring or training or converting the right people for these jobs. To be a good social media person at a brand, you have to have a background not just in digital or marketing but also in your product.
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There are so few people with that blend of experience. And it means that the brand people we’re working with rarely have enough authority–or the right background–to have influence in their organization. People are always shoving social into marketing, or they’re shoving it into digital. It’s actually all this stuff: It’s marketing, it’s digital, it’s creative. By thinking so narrowly, nobody reaches their full potential as fast as they should, given the opportunity that we have.
Don’t get me wrong: Our partners have the right enthusiasm and ideas. But there’s no SVP of engagement at any of these companies who’s sitting in the board room or who has a regular biweekly meeting with the CEO to help drive the messaging of the power of social media. I don’t know what I would do differently, other than maybe have little therapy sessions with these people and ask, Have you staffed this correctly?
[Image: Flickr user Carson Monetti]