Who is your Social Media lightening rod?

Who is your Social Media Lightening Rod?I have been in talks with a few companies lately about their social media efforts especially when it comes to supporting customers using social media (the topic of my new book). And I have noticed a difference between the successful ones and the not so successful ones.

It comes down to one basic organizational difference …

At the highest level there is really 2 ways to organize your social media efforts: Centralized or Decentralized. Do you have a team that is very loosely coupled with no clear leader that coordinates your social activity and it feels strained or hard to hold together? Or do you have one team with one goal with many players all connected together under the leadership on one person – what I call the Social Media lightening rod.

You can tell the difference very easily in a meeting or in my case with a meeting at a client because as soon as someone mentions social they all say you need to speak to Person X.

Having seen a number of teams at various companies over the last few months it’s clear that social has made some big strides at even the most obscure companies. Many of which have virtual teams of folks who are interested in social media and are happy to help the cause at their company. But the big difference between them and more successful ones at social media is the lightening rod.

Most often I see there is a person who could emerge as the lightening rod but just hasn’t been given the authority or stepped up and assumed the role. If this is you (and you know who you are) my question for you is what’s holding you back? You know you want to do this and your company needs you to do this. So stop holding yourself back and just do it!

12 comments to Who is your Social Media lightening rod?

  • Mary Ellen Grom

    A lightening rod is the perfect analogy for social media. It sends a bright light for all to see. You never know when it will strike. It’s usually followed by a thunderous BOOM if it strikes right. And often, there’s a calm before and/or after the storm! Right on Paul.

    At ScanSource, Inc. we have recently hired our lightening rod: Jami Mullikin. He’s getting up to speed, drinking from the fire hose and learning all the ins and outs of building, leading and rallying the right team about these inbound marketing opportunities at ScanSource.

    This week, we are using our Catalyst Telecom partner conference (#catconf) with Avaya as a perfect venue to uncover more lightening rods throughout the technology channel. We’ve even organized a social media evangelist group call The Click. Wish us luck!

  • @Mary Ellen – that sounds great – all the best!

  • Great post! In fact, it really hit home for me, and the question “What’s holding you back?” is exactly what I asked myself and drove me to find a new employer who values SM activities.

  • @Breanne – best of luck in your new role!!

  • A terrific post, Paul, and an important topic.

    One rule of business: To get things done, there must be ownership. As I say “One head to pat and one butt to kick.” That’s the lightening rod analogy you used.

    Companies can talk about social networks, content marketing and such topics till the cows come home, but until they get serious and take action by putting someone in charge, nothing will ever happen.

    Jeff Ogden

  • @Jeff – agreed! I never heard that analogy before but I like it already

  • […] also posted a great article at Buzz Marketing for Technology. “Who is your Social Media Lightening Rod?” Hey, social media is content […]

  • Very true. It’s important to have a clear Social Media strategy which those involved with are working towards in the same direction. Then the key, as you say, is for it to be coordinated successfully by a leader who can ensure that you ‘strike’ the right balance to meet your goals 🙂

  • […] Who’s in charge? Why you need leadership. Published May 25, 2010 Chief Content Officer , Demand Generation , Lead Nurturing , Management best practices , Marketing , lead generation , marketing campaigns Leave a Comment One of my favorite B2B marketers, Paul Dunay, (@pauldunay on Twitter, Buzz Marketing for Technology) recently wrote a great blog article entitled “Who’s Your Social Media Lightening Rod?“ […]

  • This site is very helpful for me to identify the correct product.

  • JRogier

    I am late to the discussion — recently stumbled upon this excellent posting. It reminds me of an “Organizational Behavior” class from my MBA days many (MANY!) years ago – this is fundamentally a timeless question of “accountability”…. and a great question to ask the team at the conclusion of a meeting or discussion about Social Media.. “So, who’s accountable for what we just discussed and what’s the next step?” Thank you for reminding me!

  • Great quality article !!. Thank you for all your time and work. 😉

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