The new darlings in the world of corporate social media are public relations and communications pros.
A growing number of U.S. advertising and marketing executives favor those specialists over other corporate departments for social media savvy, according to a new survey from staffing firm The Creative Group.
More than half (51 percent) of the 400 executives surveyed say PR and communications departments are best suited to handle corporate social media channels. That’s a 12 percent increase over the number of executives who favored PR and communications staffers for that responsibility in a similar study conducted two years ago.
This year, execs preferred PR pros over marketing departments (28 percent, down from 35 percent two years ago), customer service teams (9 percent, down from 15 percent), and CEOs and business owners (5 percent, the same as two years ago). Among the survey respondents, 7 percent said “other” or “don’t know.”
What skills are executives looking for?
When an organization’s reputation is on the line, executives look to professionals who work daily at crafting its image.
“Social media can affect a company’s reputation, so it stands to reason that this channel is tied closely to public relations,” Diane Domeyer, Creative Group executive director, says in a press release accompanying the study.
In addition, executives want professionals who grasp the concept of teamwork, can communicate effectively and strive to enhance the brand’s social presence across a growing array of online platforms.
“Corporate social media can also be used to shape brand perceptions and facilitate customer interactions,” Domeyer says. “Because it encompasses many activities—from content strategy to customer support to campaign analysis—that require different skills, it’s often beneficial for multiple departments to work closely together in order to leverage strengths and encourage ongoing collaboration.”
As social media engagement remains at the top of many organizations’ “to-do” lists, Domeyer says, there is a strong demand for professionals with social media expertise.
“Companies continue to invest financial resources and efforts into social media to engage customers and build brand awareness,” Domeyer said. “Even when hiring for positions that don’t directly involve social media, employers seek candidates who have a deep understanding of how to use it effectively in a business setting.”
Tell us, PR Daily readers, how does this align with the social media hierarchies you’ve seen? How can you use these findings to make your case for taking the online tiller?