Want to Lead Corporate Social Strategy? Read This.

Few people understand the constant pressure that the corporate social strategist is faced with. On any given day, the pressure can include internal challenges such as culture change, demands on proving the worth of programs, program development and execution, vague understanding of the role by some colleagues, the necessity of integrating the function throughout the enterprise, as well as external demands such as interview requests and a constant barrage of questions via email, Facebook and Twitter.

The role is clearly evolving and is one that many companies, small and large, are currently filling. I was lucky enough to be selected to fill the role of global digital & multimedia communications manager (aka head of social media) for Ford Motor Company in July of 2008, and I’ve witnessed much of the above – and more – in my role. We’re definitely at a crossroads in terms of the maturity and evolution of the function, particularly in integrating this nascent field into more business processes and making it live beyond the realm of just a handful of people within the organization.

Now, Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang) of Altimeter, along with Charlene Li (@charleneli), Christine Tran (@christineptran) and Andrew Jones (@andrewjns), have undertaken what I consider to be the definitive report on the challenges, opportunities and future of the corporate social media strategist. After surveying some 140 social strategists, interviewing 50 corporate practitioners of social media and looking through some online resources, they outlined some major findings, including:

  • Corporations have anointed an Open Leader, the Social Strategist.
  • They are overwhelmed with six major challenges – with little relief in sight.
  • Be proactive – or be relegated to being a Social Media Help Desk.
  • Senior management must be selective in hiring this role – then give full support as they evolved the corporation.

Take a look at the report to see what the six challenges of the corporate social strategist are. In addition, Altimeter has 10 executive recommendations for hiring and managing a corporate social strategist that make up a solid checklist for both those new to or seasoned in social media.

Are there other challenges that you’ve seen that should also be noted? What’s your view on the future of this role and the industry?

Also, if you’re interested, I regularly bookmark some of Jeremiah’s writings. You can find those at http://delicious.com/scottmonty/jeremiahowyang.

Scott Monty

Disclosure: I was among those interviewed for this report

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