They act more like program managers and resources for the whole corporation.
In our analysis of 50 LinkedIn profiles of current Social Strategists and job descriptions, we found these common job responsibilities:
You know that the field is still in in its infancy despite signs of early maturity by the focus on evangelizing initiatives and figuring out measurement vs. implementation of policies and processes which is still low in relationship. Expect this to shift over the next few years as initiatives become integrated and implementation becomes more common across organizations.
Their programs are organized into a “Hub and Spoke” formation. The culture of a company directly influences how they develop their organizational formation.
I also recommend "hub and spoke" organizational structures, but there is another dimension to this structure:
Centers of Excellence:
Centers of excellence typically reside within the "hub" of the structure and are responsible for cross discipline education, infrastructure (such as policy) and knowledge/best practice sharing across the organization.
Once an organization has it's policies and general infrastructure in place, the "center" or hub begins to serve a different purpose. A core team exists primarily to act as a group of "internal consultants" actively working with teams that exist at either the brand or product level where channel strategy and implementation take place. The core team still loops in to a multi-disciplinary committee so that essential practices can be incorporated into initiatives that occur across the entire organization.