The success of a company’s social media effort does not always depend implementation, it depends on how much support the people implementing actually have from their managers and executives. If an employee at a company has an idea for a social media campaign but does not have the full support of management to implement it and try out ideas, then the campaign probably won’t work to well. If a senior manager wants to write a blog post but knows that the C-level execs aren’t 100% behind the effort then the senior manager probably won’t write that blog post. If a company does not have a solid social media support system then it will crumble.
If we look at a simple company structure it would look something like this:
If you were to think of this structure as a building then you can visualize how one non-supported element can cause the whole building to be unstable. Let’s take a look at this support system in a bit more detail starting at the non-manager level.
Oftentimes (not always) these are the folks who implement or explore the social media space. They don’t have to be new hires or interns, just folks who are passionate about what they do and believe in the products and services their company offers. In order for a non-manager to succeed in the social media space he/she is going to need support both from other non-managers and from the mid-level managers. As a non-manager this person needs to help explain and make a case for why the company should begin exploring social media. The non-manager is usually in charge of all of the customer interaction, this is the person on twitter, facebook, etc reaching out to people and building relationships.
As a manager who is on board with the social media effort, it is this person’s job to support the non-manager. This means understanding the risks and rewards that are involved with the social media space and understanding how to get involved to generate results. The manager needs to empower the non-manager brand evangelists to engage in customer conversations and interactions. However, the manager cannot encourage anyone or give the go ahead to really get involved in social media without the senior managers approval. The manager should handle the budgeting and allocation of resources for a social media campaign.
Executives basically want to see a positive dollar sign from the social media marketing efforts. How much did the company save/generate as a result of social media? The executives ultimately decide on the fate of the social media efforts, they have the ability to add/kill the budget for campaigns. These folks are also oftentimes the least educated on social media and usually do not understand that it’s not always possible to assign a dollar amount to a conversation. They don’t know what twitter is or don’t understand the value of building relationships with users.
The executives need the most support out of all of the other groups and rely on the non-managers and managers to explain the tools/strategies/risks/benefits of social media. The executives also need to show a strong level of support for the managers who can in turn show a strong level of support for the non-managers.
Anyone can get involved in social media, the manger, the executive, etc, however, as mentioned before it’s important that a strong support system exists. If a manger wants to create a twitter account then he needs to know that the executive will support his decision; this all comes back to social media education and how it is propagated across the company.
Does your company have a social media support system in place? What is your company social media structure?