The game has fundamentally changed. A seismic shift is underway. The social web is here. Dialogue has replaced monologue. The conversation is the message. Communities dominate brands. It’s time to join the conversation.

So how should colleges and universities leverage the full potential of this new paradigm? It’s time to think about creating a new position – the CMO. No, not a Chief Marketing Officer, but a Community Management Officer.

Nathan Gilliatt, the principal at Social Target LLC created an excellent overview of the responsibilities for what he calls social media relations (SMR). He sees SMR “as an interdisciplinary specialty that spans marketing, technology, and Internet culture ”three components of any successful strategy for engaging social media.” Here are his summary of the responsibilities:

  1. Coordinate the development and implementation of social media engagement strategy and policies, including blogging policy, formal blogger relations programs and social media monitoring programs.
    1. Maintain domain knowledge in social media. Be a resource for others who need to understand new services and their potential impact on the business.
    2. Maintain awareness of company’s activities in social media and contacts for the various activities.
    3. Be an advocate for the understanding of social media and how they affect the company’s marketing and communications activities.
    4. Engage the company’s IT organization to coordinate IT resources and policies with social media strategy.
  2. Train functional groups (such as marketing, communications, and HR) on the technology and culture of social media as it relates to their roles.
  3. Coordinate company’s tactical response to social media issues.
    1. Consult with internal groups on appropriate responses to social media issues. Advise on the likely response of online communities to the company’s plan.
    2. Coordinate company response to social media crises; track engagement by appropriate groups (internal and external).
  4. Serve as the primary contact for external service providers and vendors who support the monitoring of, and engagement with social media.

So I ask – does anyone know of a college or university who has created the position of CMO, Online Community Organizer, or Director of Social Media Relations? Does the above job description need to be altered for higher ed? How would this position relate to the web team?

I predict these positions will be hitting higher ed shortly. I think this would be an exciting job and I can see this as a logical next step in my career.

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