Reactions to social media relations

I wanted reactions to the social media relations idea, and I got some:

I would add physical contact to his list of ways to deal with bloggers...
Vinnie Mirchandani, What to do with those pesky bloggers

This will involve a different way of thinking, mostly because blogging to be effective gives up control, which causes fear and uncertainty in the realm of traditional communications. It’s going to be about managing the process of the message coming to and from communities rather than the corporate marketing machine. It’s also going to be about how to communicate and integrate with the various blogging communities.
John Simonds, More on blogger relations

When company leadership eventually picks up on this the likely reaction might be to let the role fall to someone in IT... I agree that social media isn't IT, but I don't think it's marketing either. I am not sure that many marketing departments could handle this role, at least today. It's technology, marketing, customer/public relations, customer services, and even R&D and product management to some degree. The SMR will truly need to be able to bridge across many groups within an organization to be successful.
Kevin Donaldson, Social Media Relations

Not everyone likes the idea. Forrester's Peter Kim prefers to reinvent marketing:
Social media relations means that the public relations function—and other departments—need to get used to a two-way dialogue with consumers. This can only happen through a cultural shift in communication strategy, along with guidelines to help people get started.

Actually, Peter and I agree on that point. Social media relations is the label I'm using for the responsibilities of a company's point person for social media. The label and org chart considerations will vary by company, as shown by the community marketing program at Hitachi Data Systems. Evangelizing the culture shift and promoting engagement guidelines (not just WOMMA's guidelines but the company's social media strategy) should be central to the SMR role.

As I wrote in the original post, this is an idea for discussion. What do you think? How do companies get up to speed on the rapidly changing world of social media as it affects their business? Is SMR a needed specialty?


About Nathan Gilliatt

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  • Voracious learner and explorer. Analyst tracking technologies and markets in intelligence, analytics and social media. Advisor to buyers, sellers and investors. Writing my next book.
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