Elizabeth Allen is a blogger and consultant, advising educational institutions on social media and communications. She is a faculty member for the 2011 CASE conference on Social Media & Community.
Where do social media staff belong on the org chart?
What does that mean for the “social media experts” on your staff? They may not be programmers or hardware experts. But they do know a lot about building relationships and engaging in conversations—those conversations just happen to take place online. They have strong, high-level understanding of your organization’s mission, values and goals. They are trusted and valued members of your team.
So, where do social media staff belong on the org chart? Short answer: everywhere.
In a large, university setting, content managers should be peppered throughout your organization, communicating and collaborating amongst one another across departments and silos. Working laterally across campus means that the community managers in admissions, public relations, athletics, alumni relations and more work together to promote cohesive branding and messaging. Community managers wear many hats; give them the tools and resources they need to fulfill all of their roles. By working together, community managers across campus can form an effective, collaborative team ready to engage audiences on a variety of topics.
Managers and executives higher up in your organization need fewer details. Knowing how social tools fit in with their overall mission and goals (e.g. increasing event attendance, receiving more applications for admissions, etc) is vital. They don’t need to know how many times you tweet in a week, but they do need to know the impact and outcomes of those tweets.
Embed social media staff throughout your organization, and encourage them to collaborate across departments. Community managers are in place to build relationships and engage your constituents. Collaboration and communication are significant aspects of their skill sets. Use them!