Probably one of hardest and most often asked questions I get is “who owns or where should social media sit within an internal organization of a pharmaceutical company”?
Q1: So where should social media sit in an organization or who should own the responsibility of social media?
Social media across the years has come to play an important role in business. No longer is it just a nice to have, but rather it is an essential and integral part of any organization. In the same right social media has become a very sophisticated art and science that requires expertise, knowledge and the proper skill sets.
Therefore that is why today we speak of a “social media community management” that sits within an organization. Social media experts within pharmaceutical company should know social media platforms and audience best and what works and does not.
I believe that social media is not the responsibility of a sole team. Instead I see social media effecting the entire organization.
Owyang (2010) describes five different models in which organizations can organize internal for social media management . Dots represent those using social tools within an organization.
Most pharmaceutical companies appear to be, in my opinion, in the “Organic” structure. Why? From the outside it appears that messages are not really coordinated and branch offices are doing their own things. There does not appear to be coordination of company message, but more of isolated initiatives. HR is using social media for hiring. Communications is just an extension of the PR arm pushing press releases via different channels or communicating corporate messages / corporate reputation. Whereas, marketing, is using social media an arm’s length away by delegating to PR agencies, still need to work on how to use social media campaigns and product launches. Pharmaceutical is a very regulated industry, then even more so to have a more coordinated structure or multiple hub & spoke in place.
Q2: Should you be making your organization more social?
So how do you go about by making your organization more social. Start by building your expertise in house. Giving social media the priority it deserves within a product team. Start by identifying employees within your organization that are using social media and understand it. Get them on board since they will understand how social media works. This will give you the competitive advantage and knowledge.
Q3: What kind of model works bets in coordinating a response in a crisis?
Many departments will have a role in a crisis management. This is further evidence why social media should sit across the entire company and not to a sole team or department. In a crisis situation all teams and departments will want to act swiftly and messages must be coordinated. Each department and/or product team knows their product and responsibilities best.
Best way to manage this would be to a have dedicated social media person on the team that would know how to respond.
Q4: Who is the content expert and department expertise?
Content expert is the product team. Usually cross functional. But social media always is an expertise in it’s own. Departments are usually built around a certain function or supporting function that are experts with legal regulations and company policies and standard operating procedures.
Q5: What role does social maturity play in all this?
Social maturity plays a very important role in having in place an organization that incorporates social media. In my honest opinion I believe that pharmaceutical companies are still in the early stages of social maturity. They are aware that social media is changing our way of doing business. But there is lack of coordination. The marketing team has some agency Tweeting a conference. HR looking for potential recruits. PR posts a video or has blog about their corporate reputation. There is still doubt within the organization about the value of social media and what impact it can play in business.
Framework and matrix: the five ways companies organize for social business. Jeremiah Owyang. April 15, 2010.
Where does your social media department sit in your organization? By Alan Cronin November 3, 2015
The evolving social media department: a new approach to maximizing social ROI. By David Rush. Uly 24, 2014
Who “owns” social media data at your company? By Kevin Shively. July 26, 2016
Where should social media sit in an organization? By Will Bond. May 14, 2014
Blurred lines: who owns social media in the enterprise? By Sam Fiorello January 15, 2014
Why it doesn’t matter who “own” social media. By Jade Mangahis. January 28, 2015
Who should own social media? By Karima Catherine March 12, 2013