Shocking results have shown that three-quarters of marketing directors do not see social media as a role for the PR department, with less than one-third thinking the PR team should oversee social media in their business.
The research carried out by questioning 250 marketing directors found that bizarrely one in five believe that the IT department should take charge of an organisation’s blogging and tweeting.
Many PR professionals have expressed shock at the findings.
Rob Dyson, PR manager at children’s charity Whizz-Kidz, said: ‘Clearly a number of marketers believe social media are technical tools or an extension of the company website that IT should manage. But it is not just a bit of software and needs to be run by a part of an organisation that is personable’.
‘Twitter is not just about putting out ads- it is about building relationships. There needs to be a clear PR strategy behind it and someone in the business needs to have the inclination to use it for conversation regularly, or not use it at all.’
The survey found that only 27 per cent thought the PR team should manage social media policy including Twitter and Facebook profiles. Twenty-nine per cent of respondents said they planned to increase investment in social media during the next year, but ten per cent claimed they have only adopted social media because their rivals had.
It is important to remember that social media is essentially a key stakeholder relations activity, a way to build relationships and improve reputation. A classic misunderstanding is that technical knowledge of the deliver channel should qualify someone to carry out communications strategy. Having good channel enablers, the IT department, in place will make a huge difference to the success of the social media activity but it must have PR at its heart.