The Case for Chief Social Media Officers

Last week, David Meerman Scott made a spirited argument for the creation of a new role within business: the social media administrator (a concept originally suggested by Jim Stewart.)

Meerman Scott defined a social media administrator as:

“This not the senior leadership role for social media in an organization but rather the coordination point for company activities. The role would be someone who manages and provides consistency with an organization’s social media presence. Of course, to be done well, the skill set of a Social Media Administrator would need to include deep knowledge of tools like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and blogs.”

I think what Meerman Scott is proposing is something that already exists: community managers, who coordinate a company’s social media activities, while also being involved in day-to-day activities such as blogging, Twitter, et al.

I would argue the position that needs to be created within many organizations embracing social media is, in fact, a senior leadership role – the Chief Social Media Officer (aka CSMO). This is a better and more required position because it gives social media a seat at the table when strategic decisions are being explored and decided on.

Much like chief marketing officers emerged as valuable positions, a chief strategic media officer would be actively involved at the senior management level to represent, lobby, create and execute on a company’s social media plans. They would have as much clout and strategic clout as other senior executives – VPs of sales, business development, communications, marketing, etc.

Their mandate would be to:

– Create a strategic vision and plan for a company’s social media activities
– Coordinate and integrate the social media plans with a company’s other business activities.
– Establish benchmarks for social media success
– Lead and manage the social media team, including the community manager.
– Evangelize a company’s social media activities internally and externally
– Maintain a healthy social media profile to demonstrate they walk the walk, and talk the talk

Of course, a chief social media officer would only exist is a company was really committed to social media as a communications, marketing and sales platform. Without a complete embrace of social media, it would make little sense to create another senior level position.

So what would a CSMO need to have?

– Strong communication skills and experience
– Hands-on social media experience and a high social media profile
– Knowledge and insight into marketing, sales, business development, communications
– Experience managing teams

What do you think? Is it time for a CSMO?

4 Comments on “The Case for Chief Social Media Officers”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. IT IS TIME FOR A CSMO. This is a vital role for organizations (when it makes sense to have this kind on online presence, of course), but how serious will other members of the organization take this? I like that your mandate for the position is not just to Facebook and Tweet all day long. It involves planning, strategy, and even some form contingency, and that’s where the value comes from. No one likes empty noise!

  2. I think that depending on the organization it can be structured in two ways:
    1. According to the channel (in this case social media)
    2. According to the common interest of that community regardless of the channel (a communication officer that manages a stakeholder or public using social media and other tools in public relations)

  3. Pingback: Warum der Chief Social Media Officer kommen wird | Besser 2.0

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