Our data in the second section of this report reveal how the organizational structure of consumer companies’ social media activities were in a state of flux. In our industry data, we found that in every industry but one (media) the majority of respondents centralized social media activities either at the parent company or in one group in each division. (See Exhibit III-14)
Certain industries were more likely to centralize social media at the parent company (insurance, telecom and retail). We also found an industry in which social media was more likely to be decentralized: 54% of media and entertainment respondents said social media was decentralized within each divisional function.
The industries in which social media were most likely to be centralized (either at the parent company or in one group at each division) were telecom (76%), insurance (72%), banking (71%), and retail (71%).
Exhibit III-14: Which Industries Centralize or Decentralize Social Media Activities
On our question about which function or individual (if any) controls the company’s social media activities, we saw significant differences across sectors. (See Exhibit III-15) For example, marketing controlled social media in most insurance companies – but in none of the media and entertainment firms we surveyed. In addition to insurance companies, marketing more frequently controlled social media in the CPG, retail and travel industries than it did in other sectors.
Exhibit III-15: Who Controls Social Media, by Industry
Next, we looked at how many business functions work closely together on social media activities, no matter how social media was organized or who controlled it. The answer varies greatly by industry. (See Exhibit III-16)
Industries with the most respondents saying that at least four functions were working closely together on social media were travel, high tech and telecom (each with at least 39% of respondents in this category). The industries in which collaboration was least likely to occur were utilities (10%), CPG (13%), insurance (13%), media (15%), and manufacturing (17%). In these sectors, companies were more likely to have their business functions managing social media completely or largely independent of one another.
Exhibit III-16: Degree of Cross-Functional Collaboration on Social Media
The 11 industries gave widely varying grades to the effectiveness of their organizational structure for social media activities. For example, telecom companies gave themselves the highest mark here; 61% said their structure was effective or highly effective. A majority of travel and high tech companies felt their structure was effective or highly effective. (See Exhibit III-17) We must note that telecom, high tech and travel were the three sectors most likely to have at least four business functions working closely together on social media.
Industries that gave themselves the lowest marks for the way they organized their social media activities were insurance, CPG, health care and utilities. We must note that insurance companies were much more likely to centralize social media activities and assign control of them to corporate marketing as compared to any other sector.
Exhibit III-17: Effectiveness of Social Media Organizational Structure, by Industry
Yet the issue of how best to organize social media activities appears to be a difficult one – even for the industries that are more likely to report that the current structure is effective. The majority of telecom, travel and high tech companies – the ones more likely than other sectors to have effective structures – said they are likely to reorganize their social media activities by the end of 2014. (See Exhibit III-18)
Exhibit III-18: Which Sectors Plan to Reorganize Their Social Media Activities?