There are quite some controversial discussions about the role of the social media strategist. Similar to social media itself, when people don't understand, their first reaction is to call it hype and reject the thought.
There is no difference to the role of a Social Media Strategist.
But once you stand in a campus with 26,000 employees, 1.2 Million customers and a few billion in revenue you know that social media is no longer just some chit chat with friends. Once you see companies like BP or Nestle struggle with their ability to respond to a globally discussed issue, you know that Joe Social Media Consultant is hopelessly overwhelmed with any kind of help. And once you are tasked to launch a new product that is forecasted to produce $250 Million in the first year and launch a new corporate brand initiative having a $20 Million budget while at the same time need to restructure a service organization to create a better customer experience and knowing that the customer experience is dominated by the experience through 20,000 business partners – you know that most social media consultants have not a faint of an idea where to start.
In the context of the above situation the social media strategist has quite a large responsibility.
Corporate social media engagements are typically purpose driven cross functional engagements and strategies.
1) Create a mutually beneficial customer experience
2) Learn faster from the market and be able to respond much quicker
3) Help to transform marketing from marketing AT an audience to market WITH an audience, no longer be the conductor of the conversation but the facilitator of the conversation
4) Help reduce product design mistakes by leveraging co-creation strategies
5) Reduce product launch cost through collaboration with early adopters
6) Support supply chain management by recognizing and understanding near real time market trends
7) Build co-support strategies to increase the available product and usage knowledge base and reduce support cost (mostly inefficiency)
8) Navigate sales organizations to build stronger and more successful customer relationships – helping customers find the best solution
9) Guide and support the marketing department in their activity, provide market relevant data and develop escalation processes between marketing and the other market facing units as explained above.
10) And as an executive adviser help the corporate leadership team similar to the "Financial controller" be the "Social Controller" and help management maneuver through the rough seas of global markets.
The social media strategist's role has a series of responsibilities:
1) Building a social media service team that supports the entire company with social media relevant services from guidance, training, social media monitoring, branded and public presence maintenance, monitoring trends and changes in behavior and so forth
2) Conducting a social media assessment in the first place and refresh that assessment on an annual base.
3) Create a social business strategy in conjunction with representatives from the market i.e. business partners, customer advisory board, influencer… and ensure the execution of that strategy
4) Managing the social media service team and orchestrating reviews with the external contributor resources, make team performance analysis and continue to lead the SST
Over time the social media strategist may have a new title – but the role will only grow in importance over the next ten years.