PR and HR: Social media

Marketing chiefs do not always rate the role of PR in owning social media within their organisation. Just 27 per cent of 250 marketing heads surveyed by Wildfire PR in late 2010 thought PR should run social media in their business, while ten per cent said ownership of social media should lie with HR and ten per cent said IT (prweek.com/uk, 10 December 2010).

But last month, at PRWeek's Maximising Social Media: PR in Practice conference, a straw poll of delegates from the PR community found 62 per cent thought social media should sit with PR, and none thought HR should own the function.

Employers need to decide what their strategy is for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn before unleashing the warring factions - HR, PR, customer services, marketing or even IT - on social media. Although content could be designed by PR for the public audience, employees will have access to social networks too - and there is nothing to stop them commenting.

Rhodri Harries, MD at Kaizo PR, says: 'PR people are the best to develop a strategy and the right people to rein it in. HR should filter into that and customer services should be a critical part. But social media should be consistent in brand approach.'

Jane Fordham, associate director, talent and business development at GolinHarris, still believes there should be a role for HR in social media: 'Companies should run Twitter feeds with an integrated approach. I think for legal reasons HR policy needs to be widely communicated, but some brands still remain a little foolhardy on this subject.'

Taking the idea further, later this month The Football League is to launch a Facebook page, with PR, marketing, customer services and HR all contributing relevant content.

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