Psst…the Customer Owns Social Media

{ Film is not dead } 006

There’s been quite a lot of discussion among marketing and PR professionals lately about who has bragging rights, I mean ownership, of social media. In other words, who is the best of the best at making it happen for their clients and who should be the big SM Master in Charge.  I’m kidding on that last one.

For many folks, ownership boils down to perpetuating those darn silos and continuing to separate duties, turf battles within and outside of agencies, and whether or not they land an account.  It’s the ownership of money that is often at the root of such “discussions.”

The recent debates (this has been a topic for years) started when one PR pro in particular got the debate going again, declaring that 2013 would be the year that PR pros finally win the battle of ownership. Seriously? Is this something that keeps us up at night?

The ever so smart and lovely Shelly Kramer (whom I do declare I have a serious brain crush on) offered up an awesome-tastic post on how it’s everyone. period. end of story. I couldn’t agree more.  Do read all of her post to get that perspective and then come right back here because I have something to add to it.

The problem with eye candy…

is that it just doesn’t satisfy.  This has all been very interesting to read, and enlightening to see how folks in the PR and marketing industry still view this world of social media. I would wager a hefty sum however, that it’s only been interesting to those of us in the practice of utilizing social media to achieve results for our clients.

You know who really doesn’t care who “owns” social media? The Customer.

Truly, if you asked the mom or dad surfing the internet looking for the best deal on their kid’s Amazon Kindle who owns social media you’d get that look I get when I tell my son to “put a little elbow grease into it” as he’s washing dishes. Huh?

They. Don’t. Care.

You know what’s even more important to understand about these folks?

Customers own social media.

There’s that look again. Really. It’s true. Yes, all of us in a well oiled machine of an organization with any presence in social media or the digital sphere should have our toes in the pool and be aware of the impact across all disciplines and facets of our company or our clients’ companies. We have responsibilities. Every word in Shelly’s post is accurate and to the point.

I want to remind business owners that customers are the ones who shop, purchase our goods or services, complain about said goods or services, tell their friends about their purchases, and decide whether to return for another round. Know how they do it?

The customer will like, share, follow, clip, post, comment on, rail upon, laud, or claim as their own original idea, all that is related to your business. They are driving the bus here. Sure, we’re on it and often times, we provide entertainment, direction, in-flight services, and clean up the messes, but for all intents and purposes, they are in charge.

I would encourage us all (marketers, PR pros, customer service departments, CEOs, and owners alike) to remember that as we embrace social media and it’s potential for business marketing, communication, sales, profits and losses for 2013.  How about we approach it from a customer perspective and less from an ownership perspective?

More on this topic from years ago…

Mashable 2010: Which Department Owns Social Media?

Adweek 2010: Who Owns Social Media? 2012: Who Owns Social Media? (hint: Moms)

image via Flickr

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