Every school operates under a business organizational structure that controls the way things get done. Projects and initiatives have approval chains. But how does social media strategy fit into business organizational structures? In a blog post, Mark Greenfield asked, “Who owns social media?” Well, you can argue for the side of “no one” or “everyone” but if your school wants to be active in social media by listening, commenting, sharing and curating, you’ll have to find a way to mold a strategy that fits into your organizational structure.
Take a look at three organizational structure examples from Jeremiah Owyang in his Social Media Trends for 2010 presentation. They are distributed, centralized, and coordinated.
Depending on your institution’s existing organizational structure, one of these strategies may work best for you. Let’s break down the pros and cons of each model.
Think of a distributed structure as a ground-up approach. Strategies start organically within departments. There is no overarching guide or policy mandated by the institution.
A centralized structure may be guided by a Marketing, Communications or Web Services department on campus. Policies and messages are all controlled by a single group.
Taking the best parts of both distributed and centralized models, the coordinated approach relies heavily on overarching guidelines and best practices. Departments are well-informed of the institution’s messaging and operate effectively with their defined audiences.
When developing a social media strategy, it is important to recognize the best fit with your current business organizational structure. In the distributed approach, a social media strategy mirrors the immediacy and ungoverned nature of social media itself. A social media strategy in a centralized structure mirrors the hierarchical and controlled business structure of the institution. The coordinated social media strategy favors culture and community within the institution.
What model works at your institution? Does your social media strategy reflect your business organizational model?