That Social Media Manager May Be Right Under Your Nose

Where's that social media manager your company's been looking for? "Most likely in your office," Frank Eliason, SVP of Social Media at Citi, said Monday at OMMA Global.

Indeed, a company's top brand influencer often works for the company in question, according to Pauline Ores, Enterprise Market Engagement Consultant.

Where in the company, exactly? In marketing or PR, perhaps? Well, "PR people understand how to communicate," said Marcy Cohen, senior manager at Sony Electronics.

Seeming to side with Cohen, Ores said: "Marketers know about pushing out."

"It's not marketing, it's not PR," Eliason said of social media. "It's about the customer -- it's about what they want."

Either way, "Everything is changing so fast -- You need someone who craves that," insisted Josh Karpf, senior manager, Digital Media Communications at PepsiCo -- "someone who understands and appreciates technology."

According to Eliason, however, the greatest challenges that social specialists are likely to face will come from within the company. The "struggle point" comes from internal politics, he said -- "getting that internal buy-in."

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Sony Electronics, for its part, presently has two different agencies managing two different Facebook pages for the company -- a model that didn't always sit well with Cohen, who "wasn't a fan of anyone creating content for us."

Karpf said Pepsi prefers to keep the creation of social media internal, because "no agency can do everything well." Eliason also said Citi preferred to keep "real-time" conversations in-house.

For agencies that are handling their client's social strategies, what's the surest path to success?

Take the focus off the client, Eliason suggests, and put it on the client's customers. "If you want to be successful in the space, listen to [your client's] customer."

Also, be prepared to make a long-term investment, adds Ores. 'If you're going to do 'community,'" she said, referring to a total social strategy, "that's like adopting a baby."

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