The social media manager is NOT dead

Growth in positions with the title “social media manager” might be on the decline, but if you’re part of an organization with a big investment in the social sphere, you should most certainly have one or more dedicated social media managers, no matter what title you give them.

Ryan Holmes, CEO of HootSuite, recently wrote an article for Fortune declaring, “The social media manager is dead. Long live social media.” In it, he cited the fact that the “social media manager” job title is on its way out and that there is a fundamental change in the way social media is used within organizations. He’s right on both counts, but if you’ve invested in the social space and are seeing huge growth and a return on that investment through increased interactions, leads, sales, visits, etc. you should certainly have at least one person, if not a team, (on staff or a third-party) overseeing your social media efforts.

social media manager

Why?

1) Social media is everyone’s responsibility
Yes it is and every business should have a social media policy they use to train every single employee. But who’s steering that ship? Who’s leading by example? Who’s keeping an eye on compliance and consistency? And who’s going to do damage control if an employee goofs?

I’m 100 percent on board with sharing knowledge with everyone, but every zoo needs a keeper and if you haven’t been on social media lately, it’s a freakin’ jungle out there. This oversight could fall onto a marketing manager’s to-do list, of course, but it depends on where and how often your business is in that social space. It’s a time suck and can easily be a full-time, round the clock job.

2) Social media is part of the broader business strategy
Yes, and it absolutely should be. Social media is not just marketing or customer service or sales, it’s part of all of those things and more. But wouldn’t it be great if all those separate, often disparate, departments had a person or team responsible for setting the voice and tone and leading the conversation? Someone who could help communicate between departments to avoid overlap and make sure no opportunity is missed? Oh wait…that might be a social media manager.

3) Concentrating authority doesn’t make sense
Sometimes having one person in charge of all or most social media for an organization makes sense. That needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis. In some instances, concentrating social media authority does not, in fact, make sense. In the event that multiple people have their hands in your company’s social media, see points one and two above.

Change the title, expand the responsibilities, but don’t sound the death knell for the social media manager yet. In fact, the need to monitor, protect, expand on and capitalize on your organization’s social media investment is greater than ever and you should have someone dedicated to looking out for you in the great social media universe.