Original photo by Rednuht licensed under Creative Commons

Rick Webb (who is an investor in Percolate and my former boss at Barbarian Group) has a good article in support of “social media experts” who are the butt of many a joke. Rick’s big point is that this stuff is complicated and, especially big companies, really do need someone to help them work through things. Here’s his big paragraph:

But the real reason this anti-social media marketing zeitgeist irks me is because everyone who says it has obviously not made an attempt at grasping the ramifications of social media marketing for a global corporation. Imagine a giant company, operating in, say, 60 countries, in 15 languages. Imagine the infrastructure that needs to be in place to make sure, say, a tweet in French from a Belgian journalist gets to the right person in your global organization in a timely manner. Imagine if you have multiple lines of business – say televisions and cell phones and laptops, all running in separate business units. Imagine making an organization that rapidly responds to a PR crisis in your television business in Australia while also launching a new cell phone with a Facebook campaign and blogger outreach in Europe while Walt Mossberg just tweeted at you asking for some tech support on his new laptop? How do you staff this? Do you work with agencies? Small agencies around the world? One big one? Do you run 24 hours? Do you run in each country or in regions?  What software do you use to manage the whole thing? Should you have one master Facebook page for your whole company around the world, or in each country? Or for each line of business? How do you even begin to ensure your 100,000+ person company responds to journalists, politicians, influential bloggers, and your customers in a timely manner, 24/7, around the world, in their language?