There was a moment when social media was grounds for a turf war --- it was a land grab and  every type marketing agency was angling to ‘own’ it and, hopefully, the lucrative budgets that it would bring.

Then social was demystified and brands started pulling its management in-house while adopting the hub or “center of excellence” model to centralize and disperse social to appropriate teams, be that PR, customer support, sales, legal, HR, etc. And agency leads quietly confided social media execution wasn’t a reliable revenue source.

So, it was somewhat surprising to hear  Jeffrey Dachis, co-founder of Razorfish and more recently of the social business software company Dachis Group, recently argue branding should ‘own’ social.

[caption id="attachment_770" align="alignright" width="183"]Jeffrey Dachis Jeffrey Dachis[/caption]

“Social - or engagement marketing - is the most powerful and effective way for brands to build themselves because social is where brands get built,” Dachis says. “People have a voice and if you’re not engaged, it’s happening without you -- in public, in high-def. The train has left the station.”

Of course, this is because people are producing giant, dizzying masses of content. And before making purchases consumers do online product and brand searches where these stockpiles of content (social or otherwise) surface.

“But people aren’t making their decisions based on brand copy -- it’s from the influence of peers, family, friends and complete strangers,” Dachis adds. This isn’t to ignore, however, the role that branded content might play in various forms of ‘earned’ online chatter.

Nonetheless, is the centralized social model inherently tech company-centric with its emphasis on the power of integrating CRM, lead-gen and customer support into social engagement? Yes, says Dachis.

“There’s someone [on social media] shopping at the store where they sell Twinkies,” Dachis says. “Who is going to own that engagement on the sales team? What about the guy Tweeting about Gillette or Doritos?”