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Which Department Should Handle a Company's Social Media Efforts?

by Ayaz Nanji  |  
November 20, 2015

Half (51%) of marketing and advertising executives say their company's public relations/communications department is best suited to handle the organization's social media efforts, according to a recent report from The Creative Group.

The report was based on data from a 2015 survey of US-based marketing and advertising executives as well as data from a similar 2013 survey.

Some 28% of respondents say the marketing department should handle social media.

Some 9% say customer service should be responsible, and 5% say it should be in the hands of the organization's CEO.

About the research: The report was based on data from a 2015 survey of US-based marketing and advertising executives as well as data from a similar 2013 survey.

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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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  • by Grannelle Fri Nov 20, 2015 via web

    Itís a question that has plagued management almost since its adoption for business purposes; who should be in charge of social media? Marketers are apt to say the marketing department, PR gets the communications professionals vote, while sales, HR and IT each are ready to claim imminent domain. Management of social media teams by PR departments realized a 21% increase (64% in 2009 to 85% in 2012) in a three year period (Neill & Moody, 2015). Similar data on marketing and other departments is elusive. Two well-known business schools offer advanced degrees in social media; Southern New Hampshire University proposes both an MBA and MS based on marketing ( (Southern New Hampshire University, 2015), while the University of Florida advances an MA that is centered on communications (University of Florida, 2015), although in the case of UF the degree is specifically granted through the School of Journalism.

    Yet the question calls for my own opinion, and it is one that may be viewed as heretical; all of the above listed departments should be under the direction and management of social media. Consider that each of the aforementioned disciplines is intricately entwined with social media in one fashion or another, so that at least a basic understanding of every one is required by the savvy professional. Our own instructor is soon to be conferred with a doctorate in social media, again with the addendum that the focus is on marketing in her case. The two advanced degree programs are no doubt only the first of many more to come. And finally that the advent of use of social media in business operations has caused a massive shift in the entire paradigm.

    For these reasons the time has come to acknowledge that social media itself is a bona fide scholarly understanding. There is widespread recognition throughout the literature which accepts the necessity of social media utilization across the board. Secondary to all these hypotheses lies the unifying need for an executive position for the overarching social media practitioner, a Chief of Social Media post as it were.

    That only uttering the idea to the majority of practicing professionals would be met with resistance is a gross understatement of terms. Each department vehemently argues jurisdiction already, and the idea that each should be a subset is fuel for a fire of epic proportions. But such does not in and of itself negate the premise; it is, at the very least, a contemplation worthy of discussion.


    Neill, M. S., & Moody, M. (2015). Who is responsible for what? Examining strategic roles in soical media management. Public Relations Review, 109-118.

    Southern New Hampshire University. (2015, November 17). Masters in Social Media Marketing. Retrieved from Southern New Hampshire University:

    University of Florida. (2015, November 17). Social Media | Master's Degree | University of Florida. Retrieved from University of Florida:

  • by Grannelle Fri Nov 20, 2015 via web

    Addendum to the above: "...Our own instructor..." should read, "My current grad school class in social media professor..."

    Apologies for the confusion.

  • by Randy Wed Nov 25, 2015 via iphone

    What are your goals? Communications and PR will 'respond' with canned replies. Marketing will broadcast. Why isn't Sales on the list? Social engagement is Networking.

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