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Who "Owns" Social Media in a Business?

I have long been a champion for social media within the company I work for now. For a year and a half I ran a startup within that company and we used a ton of social media. Originally it was because I was fascinated with it but ultimately because we found all of the influencers lived there. Everyone on my team used social media to build great relationships with the top minds and influencers in the virtualization space. Since that time, I have taken what we learned and tried to implement a social media strategy in the larger company.

The interesting part for me is that as we gather the core people that will participate in social media everyone comes from a unique personal perspective. Most people have a facebook page, some have a twitter account and some write their own blog. It is a platform that anyone can pick up and use and millions of people do everyday. Because of that they all bring unique experiences and expectation to social media. One of the most common is how much you mix personal and professional information.

Now the interesting part comes when you start to incorporate this into the business and drive towards corporate objectives. The topic that started to emerge for me last week is who owns social media in a company typically? I have owned it to this point because I was the one that stood up and made a case that this is something we have to do to be part of the conversation that is going on without us. As this initial initiative starts to gain traction more and more people (mostly marketing) start to become interested and want to be part of it. Ultimately that is great! My original goal was to get people to see the value of this channel and want to participate as part of who we are as a company.

My fear is that people would abuse my kid - making it do things it should not be doing. Very simply I believe that social media is best served as a tool to build relationships - with the market, with customers, with anyone. Social media is not another tool to use as a marketing mass media bullhorn. Once I know that is not going to happen I will let go more easily. I think I am getting there but there is a part of me that doesn't want to let go because I want to be a part of it and learn. I am very passionate about social media and can't wait to see where it is going next. Being on the front lines of a company that is using it on a daily basis is where I want to be.

So my question to you is does someone in the org "own" social media? Is it used for many different things and is a tool that has many purposes and thus many owners? That is my belief. For any one person to say they own social media seems very limiting. But in order for that to work all parties need to be coordinated so that the outbound message is on the same page. But if you can do that I see no reason that many different people can own different initiatives using the same set of tools. What do you think? What are you doing in your companies? Please leave comments as to your thoughts - it would be very helpful.

Thanks

Matt