I heard the term “Social Media Czar” during a conference call earlier this week, and it’s been rolling around in my head ever since. It sounds like one of those weird goverment jobs where your accountable to no one, and get gigantic powers and an unlimited budget. In the private sector, there’s no such thing as an unlimited budget, and rarely do you have unlimited power, but could there be such a thing as a “Social Media Czar” in a normal everyday corporation, and would it be worthwhile?
In the 21st century, your small business’s Social Media Czar can be the person who can wrangle 4 other people to keep an eye on your company’s online reputation. That way no one gets overwhelmed. If you work at a larger company, it’s probably going to be one person from the marketing department who will try not to be overwhelmed trying to watch the social media space as well as do their “real” job.
I saw a great tweet from Pistachio where she noticed that most of what you hear about Twitter is the same thing you heard at the beginning of popular adoption of the world wide web. Although she was only talking about Twitter, it really applies to almost everything in social media. How often do you hear someone say something along the lines of, “I’m not interested in what Ashton Kutcher had for lunch”. Well, here’s an idea, don’t follow Ashton Kutcher. The Facebook excuse is usually very similar.
The problem with that kind of think is that if you’re not in the space, you have no control over your brand. If I go eat at Quizno’s in Cary and ask for a lid for the cup for my 2 year old so he won’t spill his water, and they refuse because only cups that are paid for get lids, I’m going to take a photo and post that to my Twitter stream and Facebook page with my smart ass remark about how silly it is. I heard back from lots of other people who also shared their bad experiences at Quiznos. Lots and lots of people saw all the negative chatter about Quiznos, but there was no one from Quiznos there to step in and try to mitigate the damage.
The much repeated social media catch phrase is, “the conversation about you is going on in the social media space whether you’re participating or not”. If you were at a cocktail party and heard someone bad mouthing your company, would you just walk away or would you go over and try to explain your side?
If you’re a sole-proprietorship, you are your own Social Media Czar. If you run a small business, you may still be the SMC. If your business operates with more than about 20 employees, you’re crazy if you’re not actively monitoring you reputation online. If that’s all I could convince you to do, I’d be happy. In reality, you should be taking the next step, listening to your marketplace. If you want to surge ahead of your competitors, you could go all the way – appoint a Social Media Czar who can ignite your fans and grow your brand’s base.