Youth does not equal an understanding of brand management. The days of “just have the intern do it” when it comes to community management are long behind us. The community manager role is now part customer service, part brand custodian, part paid and owned media specialist, part storyteller. This takes experience. Choose a community manager who can live your brand and marry it to your business objectives as well as the overall marketing mix.
Measurement and analytics are no longer optional. You need to be able to report the results of your programs and an understanding of your fans/customers behaviors and how they are engaging with your company and brand to the C Suite. By including a social analyst on your team to do this, you can also prove the value of your own work and ultimately grow your social team. Make sure you invest in this role – and find talent with a true understanding of what analytics means to social (hint – this is a tough spot to recruit for, do it well).
Content is key on today’s visual web. Your social team needs to have an understanding of content and the different types of it – the “lightweight” content created by the Community Manager, higher-investment content (“heavyweight”) created by agencies and brand marketers and the service-oriented interactions managed by customer service. These types of content all have very different purposes and outcomes, and so your team must be able to manage internal and external partners in creating each type.
Use a Center of Excellence approach. The Social Media Center of Excellence (CoE) is a centralized program that provides resources, training, and strategy to a variety of business units that are deploying social media in order to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and provide standardization. This brings you the way in which you can scale social media internally. This is also the place for you to bring together bright minds from both company and agency alike, to focus on ongoing learning and best practices. The CoE can also be used effectively when looking at social across multiple regions, by again bringing in staff from overseas to train them on process and then sending them back to their region to share best practices there.
Ensure you have the right listening infrastructure in place. Social listening, more often than ever before, should be a shared function between different groups within the organization. Customer care, innovations, HR and marketing/comms can all benefit from listening. They can be approached to pitch in on a Command Center type listening set up – a one location listening control room that brands such as Gatorade, Dell have used to great effect. By having a central resource and converting digital and social data into actionable insights that different business units can use, is at the heart of any world-class social media program.
Invest in training. In a fast-moving space, training is mandatory to ensure your team is up to speed on key trends, technologies and platforms in social. It is also vital to ensure they understand the latest techniques and methods. Industry bodies such as WOMMA now offer accreditation courses in areas such as compliance and community management. With transparency and accountability vital for any brand in social, your team must be trained to ensure they are being the true guardians of your brand.
Use your agency partners wisely. Agencies can bring you many things, from learnings and innovations, capacity, external perspective, content production, a wide range of experts that are not available in-house and more. You should know your agency partners’ strengths and use them for exactly that – each one is different and you may need to draw on several to support your full range of social needs. You also need to make sure they are properly supported so that they can be succesfull - achieve this by making sure they have accessible point person and manager internally as a guide to help them through processes and to obtain the information they need
Think about different global staffing models. Put your social staff in the markets where the appetite is highest for social and it is being used by your customers and clients. This should mirror your existing marketing framework so they can be most effective – one solo social strategist in a market without any other support will not be successful. This might be a centralized or decentralized model – again following your existing marketing infrastructure. Each company is different and so your social team make up will follow suit.
Look for hand raisers internally. Sometimes budgets will not allow for a large number of new hires in the social team all in one go (see #2). Yet you may be overlooking gems already sitting on your doorstep in the form of passionate users of social media already working for you in a slightly different role. Look for socially powered staff, particularly in your PR or marcoms group, and see if you can shift them so they have a sole focus on social. These staff have additional value in that they already know the company, so the learning curve is less severe.