Creative Commons License photo credit: Tim Dobson

When I think of “social media,” I think of two things, primarily: community and marketing. Yes, it can and does touch other areas. But, for the most part, when it comes to who “owns” it (who takes responsibility for it), it should be community and marketing.

This is why it makes sense that a Director of Community and a Director of Marketing both share authority over social. The two roles can complement each other well. Ideally, I like to see community operate equally (from an organization standpoint) to marketing, not underneath it. It may not seem like much, but it’s all about setting the tone. While community benefits marketing, it does not serve marketing. When it is done best, anyway.

For this reason, I don’t really think community should report to marketing. They help each other and they should collaborate. Marketing will help the business to increase the value they derive from community and community is a valuable filter for marketing, to ensure that the message connects with your community in a successful way.

This takes a smart community head, someone who doesn’t see marketing as the devil and understands that money needs to be made. It also takes a smart marketing head, who understands that the community is not their personal sales funnel. When either of those things is not true, I believe the company (and the community) can suffer as a result of it. Community and marketing should be communicating constantly, as equals.

Good marketing will get you more people, good community will help you build deeper relationships with those people.