Can a case be made for chief social media officers?

RSS iconI’ve written before about the multidisciplinary aspect of social media project management. For the past few weeks, I’ve also thought about how internal structures of social media projects work.

Social media management is viewed as a highly collaborative discipline, requiring the feedback and insight of group managers, information technologists, communications strategists, public relations staff, Web developers, designers, and writers and editors.

But these needs are increasingly automated thanks to content management systems, widgets, PlugIns, and the outsourcing of data and information to communities, which over time decreases the amount of strategists a project would typically require.

Why a chief social media “officer”?

A CSMO can take the approach of top-down management. Decisions and strategies for social media may be better administered without the current “bottom-up” approach that is prevalent in most organizations. Currently, social media tasks and strategies are typically developed at the staff- and mid-management level and passed upward through corporate governance, where strategies can become diluted and misaligned by managers and officers who are not as close to social media initiatives and tools.

An executive-level CSMO is closer to high-level administration and management strategies, and is in a better position to execute tasks without having the strategy redefined through the bottom-up approval process.

A few questions to consider:

  • Will advances in technology allow social media project management to be reduced to such a streamlined function that one “super manager” can carry out tasks?
  • Is it possible for one person to manage both the outward facing structure of your social media communication efforts, while managing strategies, content and communities?
  • What risks are associated with consolidating these tasks to one chief officer?

I’d like to hear your feedback. Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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