Who is Best to Exploit the Social Media Opportunity? featuring: Philip Buxton (PB), Will McInnes (WM), Judith Lewis (JuL), Paul Fabretti (PB), James Lowery (JL) and Massimo Burgio (MB).

What kind of companies have the best idea of what they want to do in social media?

WM – Companies usually come to us with a question mark rather than an answer. We hope that our role in social media is temporary – clients and organisation should be doing social media themselves. Who should be owning social media within the company? Nobody should own it, but yet everybody should own it.

JuL – As usual Judith distributes chocolate to everybody. Any form is social media is about interaction – you should be able to talk to a company and get a response, rather than submitting an enquiry and not hearing back. Inside of a company everybody should be given guidelines with social media, but with the freedom to move and engage.

PF – Social media can be looked at as reputation management or many other things. The objectives of comms teams within a company may be different to the customer service team – it’s not practical to give everybody a voice.

MB – Social media isn’t just about being on Facebook. Companies need to understand their core goals and identify the priorities, then you can identify the resources and outline the strategy in terms of targeting.

WM – Most of the brands that impact on our lives have been built with media by doing much more than story telling. Search looks at social media to trick the game, and look at how you can get your message to the top of the list.

JL – You need to work with your customer and interact with them.

PF – Using mercenary SEO techniques to get something visible isn’t the way forward. But having a great social site that has many active visitors isn’t great if it is appearing on page 5 of Google. SEO and social media are two distinct disciplines, but the agencies who embrace and use both of them effectively are the ones that will do the best.

With social media being so big, where do you start?

PF – You should ask yourself ‘why do it?’ – you shouldn’t just be doing something within social media just because your competitors are doing it. You need to understand why you are doing something and what value you can get from that. You need to make sure your message is relevant.

JL – The personal who is responsible for social media within a company should be the person who is most responsible for the overall goal. If you want to be interacting with your customers in terms of resolving issues, etc, then it should be the customer service team taking responsibility. However, if you want to drive the company and increase the awareness of the brand, then maybe it should be someone higher up in the company taking charge.

JuL – Whatever you do within a company has to have a measurable output.