In Australia there are currently four types of agents who are implementing Social Media Initiatives for Companies. As I am addicted to The Wire, I will use analogies from the series to describe the different types of offers.
The Main Man – Avon Barksedale
These people work full time for the brand they are doing social media work for. They champion social media from internally. They can act as a great form of customer service and are a touch point to the rest of the organisation.
Examples of this are
Mike Hickinbotham for Telstra
Karla Courtney for QANTAS Insider
Scott Drummond for Sports Hydrant
Chris Noble and for World Nomads
The Right Hand Man – Stringer Bell
These are people who consult and educate people within an organsation on how they should best use the power of social media/community. They usually consult a number of brand/businesses at the one time.
The Muscle - Snoop
These are people who are brought in from outside of the organization to help run a companies social media strategy on behalf of the brand. They usually work on a retainer model and are hired to do the tactical day to day running of a community. They will also work across a number of brands usually.
Switched on Media
The Mercenary - Brother Mouzone
These people are brought on for campaigns that a brand will be running. Social Media is seen to be integrated within a larger campaign that will be running. They work on a short term basis and are usually re-engaged only when a new campaign is launching for that brand.
There is usually a little bit of overlap between these roles so someone may act as the consultant but may also be the muscle on the project.
On a side note; who is your favourite character on The Wire?
For me it is a toss up between Bodie or Robin Hood Omar Little