5 Ways To Organize Social Media

By December 9, 2010Social Media

A recent Altimeter Group report suggests that there are 5 different ways for larger companies to organize their social media marketing efforts. While this report is mainly geared towards larger enterprises, I still think there are learnings for mid-sized growing businesses.

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Social media management “ownership” tends to wander within organizations. Some companies want marketing to own it. Some want PR to manage it. Others envision a company-wide effort. However large or small your company is, the operative word is organization. Online marketing tends to work better when there’s a plan. And part of an effective plan means organization.

The 5 Common Methods of Organizing Social Media

  1. Decentralized – No one department manages or coordinates; efforts bubble up from the edges of the company.
  2. Centralized – One department (like Corp Communications) manages all social activities.
  3. Hub and Spoke – A cross-functional team sits in a centralized position and helps various nodes such as business units.
  4. Multiple Hub and Spoke (“Dandelion”) – Similar to Hub and Spoke but applicable to multinational companies where “companies within companies” act nearly autonomously from each other under a common brand.
  5. Holistic – Everyone in the company uses social media safely and consistently across all organizations.


Regardless of how you organize your social media efforts within your organization, consider appointing a social media director. This person needs to have open access to any part of the organization that touches your customer’s experience with your brand.

Larger organizations can hire a senior “social media czar” to oversee the social media strategy. But smaller organizations may consider hiring a marketing company to hep them get started, or bolster existing social media efforts.

The more I talk with executives at growing companies the more I hear their desire to work with an outside marketing agency that can help them get started with a social media road map: strategic planning with tactical activities that help them achieve the real business results they need to see.

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