By Nick Johnson - January 30th, 2013

In this extract from the forthcoming State of Corporate Social Media briefing, we take a look at how large companies staff and organise social media.

This article is an extract from the forthcoming State of Corporate Social Media briefing. To sign up for your free copy, go here.

In 2012, we concluded that corporations were moving toward a ‘hub and spoke’ model of social media management - where there is a small core co-ordination unit (‘hub’), but responsibility for execution is devolved towards a number of ‘spokes’ - individuals or small teams embedded within multiple departments. 
This model lends itself well to the thorough embedding of social media across a business - a noted trend in 2012, and something we expect to only accelerate across 2013.

A closer look at social media organisation

From this year’s figures, one sees much evidence that this move towards small centralised hubs, and an expansion of ‘spokes’ - people for whom social is part of a broader role, sat in a variety of departments - is indeed the case.
The number of people who work specifically in social media, or for whom social is a named part of their job role, has not changed. In 2013, 92.5% of companies have at least one member of staff for whom ‘social media’ is a specific requirement of their job role. That’s only 0.5% up on 2012 (though one could argue that there is little capacity for growth with such a high proportion).
Equally, the majority of companies still have 2 to 3 executives with specific responsibilities for social media. The size of the core ‘hub’ has not changed markedly.
When one shifts attention to ‘spokes’, however, progress is more clearly identifiable. When we asked how many people use social in a professional capacity (but not as a specifically-named aspect of their role), the responses showed a far more noticeable trend. 
In 2012, most companies had 2 - 3 additional executives acting as a ‘spoke’ and using social in a professional capacity. The number of spokes has rocketed in the last year, with 58% of our respondents declaring that 4+ individuals within their company use social media professionally. 
These spokes are based across the business, and have chosen to leverage social media to help them do their job better.
There has also been a noticeable jump in companies with 6+ employees using social in a professional capacity - from 36% in 2012 to 42% in 2013.

Who owns social?

Unsurprisingly, social media expertise is still located primarily in the marketing department. However, the dictatorship is weakening. 
While the size of the ‘hub’ has not changed markedly, its location has.
While 57% of social media experts working specifically on the technology were based in the marketing department in 2012, that figure has dropped considerably in 2013 - only 51% of corporate social media practitioners are now based in the marketing department.
This increasingly ‘spread out’ social media expertise is more evidence of social’s increasing corporate maturity - a recognition that social’s ownership by marketing will curtail opportunities for many other departments. 
To back this hypothesis up, it’s also worth highlighting that 18% of social media experts now report directly to the CEO (up from 14% in 2012) -  implying an increasing awareness of the wide reach - and business critical nature - of corporate social media.
While less than a fifth is hardly evidence of a journey complete, it does represent undeniable progress.
This article is an extract from the forthcoming State of Corporate Social Media briefing. To sign up for your free copy, go here.

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