A very commonly debated question in PR and earned media circles is, who should own PR? Who should have corporate responsibility for social media
Think about the silliness of this question for a second. Social media is a collection of channels to distribute content and have conversations. It’s a tool to help grow your business, in the same way that a garden hoe is a tool to help grow your vegetables, or a hammer is a tool to help build your house.
Imagine the silliness of having a debate about whether only groundskeepers should have hoes or only carpenters should have hammers.
“Who should own a hammer?” is the wrong question. “Who has a use for a hammer, and can they wield it skillfully?” are the right questions to ask. You probably shouldn’t let a 5 year old use a hammer in a china closet. If you have a carpenter friend who offers to help you around the house, you should probably relinquish your hammer to them since they’ll get better results with it.
“Who should own social media?” is equally wrong. “Who has a use for it, and are they skillful in its use?” are the right questions for your company. Marketing may have a use for it. PR may have a use for it. Sales may have a use for it. Customer service may have a use for it. The real investigation will be, who can use social media skillfully in your organization? Marketing may not be particularly good at it, or the wrong person in customer service can cause more harm than good. If you’re working with an agency, you may find it makes more sense to give them the tool to use, since they could generate better results with it.
Who should own social media? Whoever can use it to help build your business, that’s who.
Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology