Every company needs to invest in social media these days; the benefits are too many to list. The same can also be said for every company having their own social media team working for them in-house, as opposed to outsourcing the work to an agency or some other company.
If it’s time you took your business to social media, here’s how you can efficiently set up the team it will take to do so successfully.
Pick Someone to Run Point
As with just about any new initiative for your company, someone needs to run point for you on this project. Unless you have the time necessary to commit to such a large undertaking, you need to put someone else in charge of the process. This person should be someone who has an understanding of and passion for social media. Even if you do have enough time, then, it might make sense to delegate this responsibility to someone in your organization who simply appreciates this form of engagement better than you.
A lot of times, the best way to find people you already employ to play a central role in this process, is simply by finding those who have already proven what they can do with social media. Look for those who have a sizable Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. network and are active on their platform. The more accounts they’re familiar with, the better.
Design a Social Media Policy
The first thing this person should do is get busy constructing a social media policy. This policy will serve to guide your staff in using social media for the betterment of the company. However, more than anything, it will also lay out the rules for doing so. Such a policy is essentially designed to help protect you, your company and your staff as social media is leveraged for business purposes.
One of the defining features of social media is how readily accessible it makes your market to your company and vice-versa. This is both an unprecedented advantage and a potentially terrifying variable. Countless companies have suffered from social media because employees of theirs — often even seasoned marketers — used a platform to express an offensive opinion or otherwise reflect poorly on their employer.
A comprehensive social media policy will help everyone you employ understand the rules of engagement. This means everything from, which words aren’t appropriate, which subject matter is taboo, and even whom people are allowed to respond to (e.g. many companies don’t let their social media managers respond or talk to competitors).
There is no boilerplate social media policy, as each one must be customized for your specific company’s needs. However, you can search out and find examples of the kinds other businesses — many similar to yours — have used in order to get started.
Chances are, too, that you’ll need to come back and update this policy when you’ve completed the rest of the steps. This will allow you to stipulate the body of the team, who answers to whom and how communication will be handled.
Begin Setting Goals
The next step after forming a social media policy will be understanding the reasons you are building a social media team. Of course, some of your goals will be obvious and without knowing them, you’d never have made it this far in the process. For most companies, social media will be about better engagement and converting more customers.
That being said, you should also have specific goals for your business that will help guide those who are handling social media. For example, maybe you want to use your Twitter account to develop a personality your market will come to associate with your company. This voice may be a humorous one or the type people will learn to rely on for free help.
On the other hand, you may be hoping to leverage Facebook for the purpose of simply letting people know your company exists and why they should be interested in your product.
Fortunately, you don’t need to shy away from mixing your goals up. Some may have no choice but to be vague, like saying, “establish a voice customers come to trust.” However, you can also supplement your list with objective metrics too like, “gain 100 new followers every month” or “post articles that no less than 10 people share on average.”
Without a doubt, your goals for social media will change over time. You’ll also get better at realizing what kinds of goals to set and what good targets are to aim for. That’s why it’s important to revisit them regularly. However, without some goals early on, your social media team will never get off the ground.
By now, you should have a much clearer idea of what your company’s social media ambitions will entail. As such, you can begin allocating resources to the cause. Part of this may mean equipment and materials, office space, etc.
However, this also means the employees you will have to have dedicated for the job. For most companies, the best option is to use employees you already have. The in-house solution will save you time and money, while ensuring your company stays in control of all aspects of any social media campaign.
Depending on your goals, you may only need one employee to handle your needs. You may not even need them dedicated full-time to social media. Whatever the case, you need to look at your social media team as you would any other and give them the resources they will need if they are to succeed.
Design Your Team
While we’re on the subject, now is the time to start thinking about a team, if that’s what your needs and goals demand. Like with the social media policy, there’s no way to know what exactly your company will demand from a team. However, we can absolutely look at some common roles found on the teams of many other companies.
- The Expert: this is someone who is already active on social media and won’t need a lot of time familiarizing themselves with the various platforms out there. They will be instrumental in helping the rest of the team learn the ropes. Generally, this is the person you’ll have running point in the team’s design.
- The Coordinator: this individual needs to be extremely responsible and good at management. They’ll be in charge of helping the social media team communicate with the rest of the company, so the more departments they’re familiar with, the better. The coordinator is also in charge of making sure queries from the public or other companies get to the right team member.
- The Communicator: PR types are generally the best people to put in charge of communicating through the social media platforms. This is the person who will actually be typing up the tweets, updating Facebook, etc. Good writing abilities are important, but so is the ability to remain calm and use good judgment when communicating to the public.
- The Company Expert: you’ll also need someone who can supply all the answers your communicator will need. Someone may ask about a certain product you make or about the likelihood of providing a service that isn’t currently available. You don’t want that person having to wait forever, meaning you need someone with the knowledge and authority to provide the communicator with the correct information.
- The Analyst: Lastly, as you should always be looking to refine your company’s social media performance, you need someone who is great with analytics to do the heavy lifting. Their job will be reviewing all the data you can find in relation to your social media campaigns and finding ways to improve performance. This will also mean reviewing the massive amount of literature out there about getting more from social media platforms. Recommendations from them will range from what platforms to use and avoid to when it makes the most sense to post updates.
Again, there’s no perfect team makeup for every company. For your unique business, some of the above roles may be combined. Your “expert” may simply be a veteran employee who keeps their current role and takes on this extra responsibility. Remember that you can always revise your team down the line.
The sixth member of your team should be software. Running social media manually is already an old-fashioned prospect. Instead, take advantage of a social media platform, like Allin1Social. Doing so will mean leveraging the abilities of each of your team members by allowing them to do more. You can automate your communicator’s updates, schedule posts, assign tasks, moderate all different social media channels on one page, provide your analyst with competitor analyses, industry reports, social mentions and so much more. A social media management software is the biggest help you can get in your in-house social media team.
Having a Facebook page or a Twitter account isn’t enough when it comes to your company’s social media needs. Instead, take the time to design and build a team that will be capable of taking this aspect of your business seriously. The above advice, combined with a social media management software should be enough to get you started and secure early success.