'Pastel Beauty' by biggertree Much of what social media is can be viewed differently from different angles.  There’s a marketing side, a public relations side, a technical side, a communications side, and a human side.

It’s these different aspects of social media that combine to confuse what “it” is for.  It’s so easy for people working for an organization to mistake the varying degrees of social media for things that seem frivolous or unneeded.  Instead, focusing on the one facet that appeals to them or their role in the organization without recognizing the opportunities of a fully integrated approach.

Taking a broader view of what social media can bring to an organization is a difficult proposition for many companies due to the differing needs of each department.  Its those internal differences that sometimes conflict with each other and keep progress from happening.  It takes some really special people with multiple talents to keep the idea moving forward.

These people are multifaceted, or better put, multi-disciplinarians.  The people spreading the message in your organization need to be able to talk tech, marketing, and corp-speak to multiple groups.  They’re the ones you need to identify, recruit (especially internally), train and empower.  Give them the leeway and the lines of communication they’ll need, in essence set them up to succeed.  Hamper them in any way and you’ll not have the results that you’re looking for.

I’ve seen numerous organizations that just can’t get around the idea of one spokesperson for the organization, or seeing security vulnerabilities and productivity losses at every turn.  These organizations can’t seem to find consensus on who should “own” (you loose already if that’s the culture) the message, let alone even participate.

At the same time, I’ve seen organizations that “don’t get it” but still end up doing it right.  These are the organizations that not only recognize that they don’t totally understand, but they’re also the type know the world has changed and that they have to embrace new ideas.  Its these types of corporate cultures that end up getting it right for their customers and learning more about how they can best solve their needs.

So understanding the multiple facets of social media and how they can be applied inside a company is crucial.  That’s what the job of a social media strategist, architect, analyst, or other similar role really is.  There’s more to each of these roles of course, but the ability to identify the needs, opportunities and the tools & solutions required to meet them is the key set of knowledge and experience required.

Photo credit: biggertree

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