6 Steps to Building and Managing A Successful Social Media Marketing Team

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6 Steps to Building and Managing A Successful Social Media Marketing Team

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So you’ve decided it’s time to get serious about social media, and you’re excited to begin building a strategy and a social media team. Whether your team is diving in for the first time, or restructuring an existing strategy so that it becomes more effective, you should aim to answer the following questions for your team. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Why are we engaging in social media? Who should be part of our social media team? Where should our team focus our efforts in social media? What social media content should we monitor and create? How should our...

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  1. Social Media Marketing 6 Steps to Building and Managing A Successful Social Media Marketing Team 6 Steps to Building and Managing A Successful Social Media Marketing Team from Awareness, Inc | Creators of the Social Marketing Hub
  2. 6 Steps to Building and Managing a Successful Social Media Marketing Team 6 Steps to Building and Managing a Successful Social Media Marketing Team So you’ve decided it’s time to get serious about social media, and you’re excited to begin building a strategy and a social media team. Whether your team is diving in for the first time, or restructuring an existing strategy so that it becomes more effective, you should aim to answer the following questions for your team. 1. Why are we engaging in social media? 2. Who should be part of our social media team? 3. Where should our team focus our efforts in social media? 4. What social media content should we monitor and create? 5. How should our team produce content? 6. When and how often should we produce content? This whitepaper aims to help marketing decision makers develop a strategy as it relates to team workflow. It also includes tips for maintaining and evaluating your strategy. T oday, 22% of companies report they are “just getting started” in social media, 31% say they’ve been “doing this for a few years”, and 43% have been doing social media for just a few months. The majority (86%) of companies say they do not plan to outsource their social media efforts. Two-thirds of them spend 6 to 15 hours per week managing social media. - Source: 1. Why are we engaging in social media? The answer to this question will drive your team’s strategy and help you to identify the appropriate team members to execute it. Some goals might include: • Increase brand awareness and buzz • Increase sales numbers and leads • Resolve customer service issues through social channels • Gain followers and fans • Communicate more effectively with users about your brand • Learn more about what users think of your brand Once you have a list of goals, you can begin to identify the best people to help you accomplish them. Be aware that this list may result in objectives that touch multiple departments and job functions.
  3. I 6 Steps to Building and Managing a Successful Social Media Marketing Team n a recent poll of Fortune 500 companies, over 40% say increasing brand awareness is a top goal for their social media team. Increasing leads (15%) and driving an increase in sales (13.8%) come next. Only 7.2% say their main goal is to learn more about user behavior. - Source: Flowtown 2. Who should join our social media team? Anyone, from the CEO to the intern, can potentially be involved in your social media strategy. However, there are three common places to recruit talent for a social media team: • The marketing department: This is the obvious first stop for social media. If your company has an in- house marketing staff, they should already be abreast of the latest social media trends, and be given the resources to execute sound strategies for engaging with consumers and creating quality content. • The call center: If your company already has a team that handles customer complaints and questions, they should continue to perform this duty, with additional social media training. They should also be encouraged to help the company develop new ways of serving customers using social media. Your call center team may also be motivated to participate by the fact that social media that allows companies to post useful info and for customers to help each other solve their problems—which actually decreases call center workload. • An outside public relations firm or agency: Companies big and small often bring in additional help to gain expertise and access to relationships their company does not currently have. “ There’s quite a few ways to measure “return” - but investment is just what you put in.” - Mark Goodman, Editor-in-Chief, Go2 Media Once you’ve built your team, you should pick a team “captain.” Industry experts agree that most social media initiatives should have a single manager who acts as the gatekeeper for all social media communication, though he or she may have other duties within your company. He or she may manage multiple team members who execute your social media strategy. There may also be more than one team manager in each company: for example, one for each brand, industry or geographic location. The popular site uses this model to great effect, retaining a community manager in each city who monitors and responds to the ongoing conversation around its brand, engages with users on message boards when appropriate, and promotes events using messaging and newsletter features, so that both the website and the real-time events it organizes are always buzzing with engaged users. “ Don’t leave it up to the intern! Nobody’s too old to learn social media skills. It’s great when it’s collaborative inside and out.” - Anne Holub, Web Communications Specialist, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
  4. 6 Steps to Building and Managing a Successful Social Media Marketing Team 3. Where should our team focus our efforts in social media? You’ve likely heard the answer to this one before: it’s wherever your audience is already talking. This may be in more than one place: today, people spend their days having business-to-business conversations on LinkedIn, planning their social schedules on Facebook and raving (or complaining) about their consumer products on Twitter. So how can your team monitor this decentralized, world-wide conversation as a team? You can split up the work in a few different ways: • By industry: If your marketing team already specializes in covering a few different industries, they should monitor the influential blogs and Twitter users in those fields. • By brand: Companies with multiple brands should assign dedicated social media team members to those brands • By competitor: Companies should monitor specific competitors and identify trends in how they are acting/reacting. • By social media network: If your team has a diverse range of ages or interests, some may be more familiar with one networking site than another. For example, some employees may unfamiliar with the conventions of LinkedIn or YouTube, but are already experts at using Facebook or Flickr. Save time and training resources by assigning tasks “ accordingly. Never spread yourself thin. Find out which social networking sites make sense for your company or client, and then figure out the best way to integrate.” - Jessica Frank, Digital and New Media Strategist, Antler Agency Your team’s goal should be to stay abreast of what users are saying about your brand, and to begin to look for ways to join the conversation in a useful way. Social marketing software can be useful in this regard, as it allows for keyword searching, comment tracking and other monitoring tasks across multiple platforms. Once you begin listening carefully to the conversation, ideas will likely naturally present themselves to your team members. The team leader should regularly solicit, collect and vet these ideas. Which brings us to our next question. “ One of the most important things for any entity entering social media is to look at how their brand or category is being discussed already. Without a listening strategy, you can’t contribute in a meaningful way or add value.” - Richard Cherecwich, Account Executive, WIT Strategy
  5. 6 Steps to Building and Managing a Successful Social Media Marketing Team 4. What social media content should we monitor and create? Your team will need to brainstorm ideas that will help, entertain and engage your users, not just push new deals or products. Ideas for content may come from every corner of the company, from the CEO to the folks in the call center. Your team’s task will be to discuss and decide which ideas suit your strategy. Questions to ask when vetting ideas It’s unlikely that every great idea you have is possible for your team to execute. Your team should look at the following for each idea before beginning a project: • Does this accomplish one of the primary goals we set in the beginning of this project? • Do we possess the time, talent and money now to create and promote this content, without a hitch? (Or do we have the option to hire outside help if needed?) • Will it be possible to measure user response to this project in a way that proves ROI? Once you have a list of ideas that meet the above criteria, it’s time to discuss the nuts and bolts of content creation. 5. How should our team produce content? Your team must develop a workflow process that allows your team to stick to its goals, create great content and measure the results of that content. Every company’s workflow will be different, but all successful workflow processes will designate the person (or people) responsible for: • Conceptualizing ideas • Assigning content • Creating content • Editing content for accuracy and tone • Approving content for publication • Uploading and publishing content • Ensuring content is being published as assigned • Promoting content across multiple channels • Responding to user feedback on content • If necessary, mediating conversations between users on content • Measuring user response to content Your team leader should play a vital role in all of the above, but it may not be realistic to expect him or her to do it all. It may work best to split up the task list by department, and charge the team leader with keeping each department informed of the others’ efforts. Some examples of task distribution might be: • You charge your marketing team with monitoring brand-based conversations and creating blog posts, which are approved by the COO, while you leave responding to customers up to the customer service team, and meet regularly with the team leader to discuss each department’s progress • You assign the content creation to the creative department, charge the team leader with editing and posting all content, ask the engineering department to handle gathering metrics on user response, and share all information by email
  6. 6 Steps to Building and Managing a Successful Social Media Marketing Team • You require that every member of the team log in to social media daily and generate a memo on their area of expertise and possible content assignments, which will be circulated, assigned and approved by the team leader Of course, in some small companies, there may be one person doing all the work. Using a social media tracking program is very helpful in this regard; if you’re an art-school grad being charged to deliver analytics from three different social media networks, smart software beats a messy Excel sheet. What if we’ve never created content before? You may also have some initial issues to consider besides your task list. These might include: • Establishing a company voice: The Wall Street Journal and Rolling Stone both report on politics, but they do so quite differently. What does your team want to sound like? Once your collective voice is established, how will your team leader maintain consistency between multiple writers? Discuss this with your team. • Creating levels of permissions for different users and departments: If you are using sensitive company information, it may be necessary to create different levels of permissions for your team. For example, your social media strategy may require the help of outside freelancers who should not see company data, or have the ability to respond to comments. Or you may use interns who should not have administrative abilities. Many social media software programs allow for different user settings to solve these issues. • Establishing a company social media policy: Where does your social media strategy begin and end? How much social media use on company time is appropriate? Is your team familiar with the social media norms of each network and how they differ? Do they know who’s responsible for responding to a comment, a question directed at a top stakeholder or an irate customer? After all, as Rich Cherecwich of WIT Strategy notes, “The last thing you want is for an employee to argue on behalf of your brand and have that scuffle make the news.” Developing a policy for your team that addresses these issues is imperative. • Discussing troubleshooting strategies for worst-case scenarios: This relates to the above. Many marketers fear social media because it is more difficult to predict and control than traditional media. How will your team handle worst case scenarios, such as customers who post negative or profane content on your site, security breaches, errors in your content, budget cuts or sudden turnover within your creative team? Make sure that your team knows the answers to these questions before the first post goes live. • Balancing social media duties with other duties within the company: Unless you have a company with dedicated social media staff, it’s likely that your employees have other things to do besides create social media content. Discussing the role it will play in their daily triage of tasks will help each employee to get the job done. This relates to our next question, which is... “ Not all experienced [employees] will possess social media savvy … even the most terrific ‘Tweeters’ and proficient ‘Facebookers’ among your staff will need to be trained on your corporate social media strategy. [Companies should] also review social media norms, and the specific culture and rules of each social media site in which agents will be interacting with customers.” - Greg Levin, International Customer Management Institute
  7. 6 Steps to Building and Managing a Successful Social Media Marketing Team 6. When and how often should we produce content? After you have decided on a workflow that distributes tasks appropriately among team members, you should aim to create a content calendar, with deadlines and tasks outlined for each project. Your team’s overall goal should be to produce great content as often as you can, with the resources you currently have. That said, the social media world is always changing. So resist the urge to cling to a six-month old strategy that’s not working, or conversely, to abandon ship on a social media project that has not yet existed long enough to gather useful metrics on user response and ROI. Instead, aim for a middle ground, in which your team develops a social media strategy that has: • Deadlines that will challenge your staff and keep content timely, without making unreasonable demands on their time or energy • A workflow that allows enough time to properly complete each step of the process • Regular meetings to review upcoming projects and user response to past projects • A set beginning and end date for your strategy, after which your team will evaluate ROI and make any necessary changes to workflow and calendar Here’s an example of a how a content calendar might address workflow. Say your company’s working on a new promotional video. Your content calendar will outline: • Who will create the video from beginning to end • Who will post about the video on Facebook and Twitter • Who will respond to comments about the video • Who will generate reports about the traffic and response to the video • Deadlines for each task Testing, testing... Once your team has settled on a suitable task list and workflow process, it is recommended that you create several pieces of test content using your new system, place them in mockups as they will appear to users, and critique them with your company stakeholders and social media team. Not only does this ensure you’ll find the leaks in the system, but it will also help you to create a content stable to pull from in the future, when news may be slow. For this reason, you should choose topics that will always be relevant to users. News editors call this evergreen content. Examples of evergreen content might be lists of tips or resources that may be useful to your users, engaging interviews or profiles. As you test your content, your team should consider these questions: • Does our workflow allow plenty of time for each person to do their best work? • Is every person comfortable with his or her assigned role in the process? • Does our content have a unified tone and voice that is engaging and in line with the company brand? • Can we consistently create content with the same quality and tone? • Are we creating content that we or our friends would like to read and share?
  8. 6 Steps to Building and Managing a Successful Social Media Marketing Team After the launch: maintaining your strategy After you launch your social media strategy, you and your team will still have important work to do. You will need to monitor the following: • Is your team staying on-message and true to the goals of the project? • Is your social media team too small to execute these goals? Too big? • Are the outlets you’ve chosen the right places for this content, based on user response? • Is the content you’re creating consistently getting done, to the best of your team’s abilities? • Is your workflow sustainable? • Are you producing content frequently enough to make a timely impact on the social media conversation around your brand? Gathering information about the above across multiple social media platforms can be difficult. A software program may help you to obtain solid numbers so you can make adjustments and evaluate progress. Note: During this time, your team should focus on executing and monitoring, rather than dramatically tweaking, your strategy. And again, don’t stop before you’ve finished testing! Social media is always changing, but any time your team invests in acquiring new skills and engaging with customers will be time well spent. Inevitably, your team will experience some hitches along the way; your team leader should collect and save any ideas for improvement for the final evaluation. Evaluate your social media strategy So now, it’s been a few months and your team has (hopefully) been having fun exploring the world of social media. You’ve encountered some new information sources that have deepened your understanding of what your company has to offer, and in turn, your team has added some valuable content and perspective to the social media space. It’s time for your team to evaluate your strategy. Your team should reassess the issues you discussed in the beginning: • Did your team stay on-message and true to the goals of the project? • Is it time to make changes to your team roster? • Should (and could) you expand your listening and content creation strategies to include new social media outlets? • What was the overall response to your content? Did users like it? Interact with it? How could it be improved? • Did everyone understand their roles in the project? Did work get completed? • In the future, could you post more frequently? Respond more quickly? Again, you will want to come to this conversation armed with hard numbers and keep the focus on specific goals accomplished and ideas for refinement. Social media is still in its infancy, but thanks to constant improvements in technology and user savvy, this new frontier is quickly becoming an established and measurable method for increasing business, buzz, and even job satisfaction. In fact, you may be surprised at the creativity, flexibility and enthusiasm of your team when it comes to executing your social media strategy. Now, all you have to do is keep the momentum going.
  9. 6 Steps to Building and Managing A Successful Social Media Contact Information Awareness, Inc. About Awareness 25 Corporate Drive, Suite 390 Burlington, MA 02451 Awareness is the leading provider of enterprise-class, on-demand social marketing management software (SMMS) for marketers to publish and manage social content, engage with their audience United States and measure the effectiveness their social media activities across multiple social media channels. The Tel: 1 781-270-2400 Awareness Social Marketing Hub is built upon Awareness’ expertise with some of the world’s leading brands and marketing agencies including MLB, Sony Pictures, Comcast, Likeable Media, Associated Awareness Canada Press, Cox Communications, Mindjumpers and American Cancer Society. 5050 South Service Road, Suite 100 Burlington, ON L7L 5Y7 Canada Tel: 1 866 487 5623 Fax: 1 905 632 4922 ©2011 AWARENESS, INC.



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