Who owns social media?

Social Media has become an essential part of every individual’s life be it for connecting with family and friends or for consuming news. What came first – the chicken or the egg? Just like this adage, it’s a challenge to answer who exactly owns ‘Social Media’.

Social media is owned by people like us. We can be termed as ‘Brand’ or ‘Marketers’ or ‘Consumers’. After all, it’s folks like us that use these platforms and supply them with all of its content. While the marketers or brands can be just termed as content suppliers, major role is played by the Crowd (consumers) who really have a strong voice that can be raised through social platforms. Thus, managing the Crowd is imperative to establish a sound presence in social media.

There are four key pillars of managing the ‘Crowd’ that would allow us the ownership of social media or rather allow us to effectively engage the masses. Let’s understand them.

Consumer Insights (The Listeners)

In a world where consumers within the ‘Crowd’ have been given the means to create the world’s largest focus group using the new modes and venues during the last 20 years, there needs to be a change. They are in-charge of using the world’s largest data pool to make sure they understand and process any relevant communication that is important.

Marketing (The Influencers)

Marketing’s job has always been focused on delivering the right message to a company’s core consumers in order to maintain loyalty in an effort to build the brand. A marketer’s job is not simply to drive engagement with the Crowd but to use what the listeners do to figure out how to creatively influence all that chaos. If one can influence the Crowd, one can catalyze a power greater than anything he could do when he had control of the old modes and venues in the authoritarian era.

Customer Services (The Appeasers)

Customer service must proactively manage the customer base and publics that might tarnish the name of a company. And in a world where any individual can harm you, anytime, anywhere, such management has taken on a whole new meaning. Imagine working within a function that is failing all the time no matter how successful it is because you can’t put enough resources to really serve everyone. All you can do is build processes to proactively appease those you can touch in an effort to help marketing influence the message in a positive direction.

Public Relations (The Sharers)

The Public relations function is about appeasing the Crowd but this function does serve two purposes. It manages the message when things go wrong and it also looks for opportunities to bolster the company’s image when the opportunity arises. The best a PR person can do is merely share the message and hope that it is well received. Public Relations should master the art of sharing the message that a company is putting out into the Crowd.