Technology: Online study's shock finding

Only 27 per cent of marketing chiefs believe in-house PR should handle social media.

Marketing directors do not rate the role of PR in managing social media, with less than one-third thinking the PR department should oversee social media in their business, according to new research.

The survey of 250 marketing directors and heads of marketing by Wildfire PR even found that one in five marketing chiefs believe the IT department should have control of a firm's blogging and tweeting.

Some PROs expressed shock at Wildfire's findings.

Rob Dyson, PR manager at children's charity Whizz-Kidz, said: 'Clearly a number of marketers believe social media are technical tools or an extension of the company website that IT should manage. But it is not just a bit of software and needs to be run by a part of an organisation that is personable.

'Twitter is not just about putting out ads, it is about building relationships. There needs to be a clear PR strategy behind it and someone in the business needs to have the inclination to use it for conversation regularly, or not use it at all.'

Pete Goold, MD of tech PR agency Punch Communications, said: 'Marketing directors who do not involve PR because of a personal dislike of Twitter are less able to do their jobs than they were five years ago.'

The study found that only 27 per cent thought the in-house PR team should manage company social media policy including Twitter and Facebook profiles. Only two per cent believed this should be the responsibility of an external PR agency. Twenty-nine per cent of respondents said they planned to invest more in social media during the next year, but while almost half of the businesses polled have adopted social media, ten per cent claimed they did so only because their rivals had.

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