Social media is too important to leave to the marketing department.

B2B and MediaBistro both covered our NYAMA event on brand reputations and social media, held on January 20th.

Here are my additional observations, to round out their coverage:

1.  Social media’s relationship to a brand crisis can be like putting out fire with gasoline.   It accelerates everything.

A potent example can be seen on the streets of Cairo.  Social media didn’t create the underlying problems but it almost certainly has shaped the narrative and contributed to the scale and visibility of the protests.  The Egyptian government’s blocking of the internet had the effect of further magnifying the situation.

I don’t mean to trivialize the situation in Egypt by comparing it to branding.

2.   You can’t confine social media to the marketing department.  Or, more to the point, you can no longer operate companies with silos between marketing the rest of the organization.

Jenny Dervin shared how JetBlue now has a whole team monitoring and managing social media around the clock in a space that resembles nothing less than ESPN’s SportsCenter.  Previously all of this was handled by one individual who, as you can imagine, had precious few hours of uninterrupted sleep for more than a year.

3. There is no social media rulebook.  Everything will continue to evolve in ways that are not always predictable.

For that reason companies need to invest the resources in developing the necessary skills.

And for the same reason, companies need to be open about reinventing their marketing framework for a world that demands greater flexibility.  Here is where the skills of journalism come in handy.  Companies need to develop the competencies of narrative, like a great journalist.

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