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:
- Coordinate the development and implementation of social media engagement strategy and policies, including blogging policy, formal blogger relations programs and social media monitoring programs.
- Maintain domain knowledge in social media. Be a resource for others who need to understand new services and their potential impact on the business.
- Maintain awareness of company’s activities in social media and contacts for the various activities.
- Be an advocate for the understanding of social media and how they affect the company’s marketing and communications activities.
- Engage the company’s IT organization to coordinate IT resources and policies with social media strategy.
- Train functional groups (such as marketing, communications, and HR) on the technology and culture of social media as it relates to their roles.
- Coordinate company’s tactical response to social media issues.
- Consult with internal groups on appropriate responses to social media issues. Advise on the likely response of online communities to the company’s plan.
- Coordinate company response to social media crises; track engagement by appropriate groups (internal and external).
- 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.
- Cluetrain Manefesto
- Communities Dominate Brands
- Join the Conversation
- Meatball Sundae
- Naked Conversations
- Now is Gone
- Jobs of the future, #1: Online Community Organizer (Seth Godin)
- Defining social media relations (Nathan Gilliatt)
- Understanding the Community/Evangelist Role (Jeremiah Owyang)
- Community Manager Category (from Jeremiah Owyang’s Blog)
- Who Can Be a Community Evangelist (Christopher Salazar)
Funny you wrote this because just last night I was working on a blog post all about managing your institutions online identity.
We definitely don’t have anything close to this, but I do attempt to do everything possible to monitor and nurture our online image. The training and education part will probably be the most challenging.
This is a really timely blog. I don’t know of anyone who’s created the position, but it will, in some form, begin appearing. Kyle’s response is right on, also. From my perspective, as a PR director, things are shifting rapidly from marketing in the traditional media to the social media, and as I’ve said in my blogs, it’s a pioneering a rule-changing era.
My sentiments exactly Dennis. Even though I really am learning as I go, I think this is exactly the kind of thing schools need to be mindful of. Kyle, training is key. Where does this training happen? College? Seminars? Unlimited web browsing?
I work in a centralized advising center on a campus as an assistant director. Over the past year or so I have struggled with communicating to my superiors the work I have done in this realm. Thank you Mark for helping me to better define my role. Although not on the same level as you describe above I have created a niche for myself and as a result I have had a change in my job description that reflects the time I spend learning new technologies, updating web content, coordinating our center’s IM coverage and blog posts and overseeing our use of the social networks and more.
In response to Dennis’s question about training – We are fortunate to have a Teaching and Learning Center on campus that gives frequent workshops on using these technologies. We have also conducted training in our staff meetings and I have worked one on one with staff.
I completely agree Mark. It’s such a changing market. Teaching and Learning Centers on campus would be key to keeping up.
Excellent post… “Dialogue has replaced monologue. The conversation is the message.” I think that sums up the new era of social exchange in a nutshell. With the advent of blogging and social sites like Facebook, MySpace, Digg, and so on… I can definitely see a need to hire someone who can monitor these activities.
The idea interesting but a little difficult to implement.
This community should also like to manage, and will ultimately manage any one person.
Very great post! I think that these kind of positions will become more and more critical in the future. Since the social networks have become today’s marketplace, they will eventually also become a learning platform, for educational services. This is the trend I believe we are going to see for the next couple of years. And therefore these kind of positions are most likely also going to be adopted by the higher eds. The same shift we have seen in business will eventually also translate into the eds.
Thanks much for posting. Lot of helpful information here… 2006 was about ?What is social media? and ?Why does it matter?. Business blogging, flogs, podcasting and second life were the hot topics. 2007 was about ?How do I deploy social media?. Companies started to integrate Social Media up and down and side to side in the organization, both externally as well as internally. 2008 is about social media strategy and campaing. So job of CMO can be really exciting and much in demand.
Wow, I can’t beleive what I am reading . My wife works at target inc and she told me that they have created a position similar to this. Just when you think a ideas is yours, somebody else comes along and suprises you. This is a excellent idea to implement for college because it gives colleges the upper hand on blogging and social media.
Brand management use to only be related to what appeared in the media but these days the end users are publishing their thoughts very easily with social media tools.
There are now services and tools offering social media monitoring. I think this space will grow as traditional PR agencies will need to stay on top of this unauthorised, spontaneous expression of thought.
The internet has made the job of the publicist even harder as individuals now have a greater platform to communicate their opinions.
It first started with forums although it was easy enough to contact the forum owners to moderate any unfavourible posts.
Now with social media like blogs where it is the individual who is in control of the publication of their comments, a social media monitoring tool is essential to automate the process of staying on top of the communication that is being published to the wider world.
It will also be interesting to see when/if higher learning institutions start to actually teach this “social” stuff. In fact, that might be one way to go about the overall advancement of the social media agenda: create positions like the CMO, and have that position also be an instructor at the school offering SMO 101, or something similar. Heck, the students would likely know more than the instructor, but that would just reinforce the concepts of the course!
Certainly at agency level monitoring social networks is becoming more common so this will become the norm soon.
It is extremely exciting and unnerving to see that social media is changing the dynamics of learning and technology. Students of today are smart in ways that are foreign to their parents, and teachers. I see the need for educating the older generation as well as our youth. This is a way of life and we must accept it, or get lost in the journey.
Great tips, thanks!
Social communities continue to grow at an astounding pace. It only makes sense that institutions of higher learning would begin to focus some of their resources at the social realm. If I were you I would begin mailing that position description to the institutions that you would like to work for…who knows what may come of it!