Social Media - A Central Role Inside The Company

Where should a Social Media Manager be based in a company? Marketing? Corporate communications?

Social Media is many things. It's Marketing, communications, customer service, PR, sales and human resources. Maybe it's slightly more marketing than anything else but the social media profile in your company should be deeply integrated into every department.
This person should attend the weekly staff meetings in offline marketing to know what campaigns are about to launch, to be able to back them up online.
Also he should know where online marketing is investing their time for example to coordinate the email marketing campaigns with social media campaigns.
He/she should know if the human resource department is hiring, to be able to post that on Linked In or Twitter.
The person should know the general direction of the company to know the tone of voice, the direction, the general feeling of where the company is and is going.

He should also be very close to communications to have access to press releases and have someone to secure the outgoing messages with, so that all are on the same line.
He should know how sales are going and if there are products that can be used for contests or sweepstakes.
He should know what's going on in the customer service department to know what questions are coming in and how the company is replying. AND coordinate the channels for that.
He or she should have support from a copy writer to craft engaging blog posts and he should have an easy to reach person from the legal department (new school preferably) to exchange ideas and secure the usage of email addresses, terms&conditions of contests e.t.c.
He should also be very close to the designers (the product department) to maximize the company's products for social media, may it be logos, messages or website design.
The list can go on, but my point is that Social media doesn't really belong in one place. Which is why I think it's becoming more and more important to have this profile in-house.
If we externalize social media we don't really care enough about it and at the end we don't really care enough about our customers.
An agency is great for many things but I'm against hiring an agency for social media communications.
Hire the agency to design the Facebook page landing page, the blog or to come up with a great contest idea, but care enough about your customer to let them be handled by the brand they think they're being handled by.
Social Media is trust, it's fast and it's a 2-way communication, NOT 3-way. Meaning, talk directly to the customer, it's faster, it's more genuine and it gives you more control of the quality of what's being said.

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