How to Staff Your Organization for Social

HelpEvery company is different.  One size does not fit all. But with social spreading and integrating into multiple departments across the organization, it might be nice to have a little guidance on just how to staff for social.


Much is written about a mythical creature that can run 5-6 social channels by themselves; from strategy to content planning to content production to interdepartmental liaison to campaigns to internal cheerleader to community management (24/7 on each channel mind you) to analytics to reporting…and for $50k a year. Legend has it they fly in on unicorns and shoot candy out of one hand and champagne out of the other.


Sadly, far too many brands caught flat-footed by social see its growing number of functions and applications and conclude the “smart” play is to stack multiple, highly diverse skillset expectations onto one soul vs. actually resourcing social for maximum impact. If they were running a baseball team, they’d be sending their catchers out to pitch.


Marketingprofs reported businesses with revenues under $1 billion most likely have 1-5 employees dedicated to social. Others have NO employee dedicated to social. A Ragan survey shows 65% of social media leaders do social as an add-on to their other work. This is madness and will result in a horrible social customer experience for your fans.


So what should you look for, and in what order?


Priority Hire #1: Nothing will happen without someone managing every social channel your brand is on. Don’t low-ball this person. They’re literally going to be the public voice of your freaking brand. Kind of important right? They need great judgment, which can’t be taught. They need good intuition for what content to curate. They need a cool head and stamina. And if this person is all you’ve got, giving them the right tech tools for social media management shouldn’t even be up for debate.


Priority Hire #2: Nor will anything happen in terms of the engagement that makes social so powerful without a content creator. Without content, you have a stage and you’re putting nothing on it. That doesn’t make sense. This person has to be a writer, journalist, entertainer, and audio-visual producer. They have to be amazingly prolific with an ability to keep their finger on the pulse of your topic. If you’re lucky, they can also construct and run your content strategy and content calendar.


Priority Hire #3: What good is building that audience and putting out all that content if you don’t know how it’s doing? Analyst-types are the polar opposites of creative types. If you expect your writer and video producer to also be the best social analysts available, think again. Great analysts live to watch those social metrics and crunch the data so strategy adjustments can be made ASAP.


Priority Hire #4: Now that you’ve got the people who do the in-the-trenches work, you’re next salary allocation can go toward someone who operates at a higher level to put the pieces together into a more connected, coherent strategy. This person is the conduit to the C-suite, assembles the social stakeholders in various departments for input, enlists employees in the social effort and sets policy, fights for paid social budgets and content budgets, and has their eye on the business goals for social.


Where should priority #4 come from? The debate goes on. A Creative Group survey of ad and marketing execs had 39% of them saying PR is best suited to oversee social, with marketing right behind at 35%...interesting given how marketing has driven the social initiative to this point. But for all social hires, worry more about innate applicable talents and genuine passion for social over resumes and where they came from.


What all social hires (and the people hiring them) should grasp is that social is an around-the-clock, around-the-calendar affair. And if business is becoming more about marketing, and marketing is becoming more about trust & relationship building, and trust & relationship building is won via content and social…then look for such practitioners to continue becoming business’ most sought-after, in-demand MVP’s.


@mikestiles
Photo: freedigitalphotos.net

Comments:

Hi Mike,

Most of the companies I work with (some include really large companies) have no staff for social whatsoever. The content managers/editors themselves handle the social media work.

For smaller companies, I noticed that there is a trend to hire a social temp, paying him or her around $20/hour to do about 20 hours of social media work a day.

Now having a department called "Social Media" under the "Marketing" division in large companies is a good idea, but it can create some serious communication overhead. For example, the editor posts a new article, and then he has to tell marketing about it, marketing will then forward it to its social media department, social media will then contact the editor asking him for more information, etc... Nevertheless, I still think it'll be a great idea to have a dedicated social media team, provided there's a defined process to handle all the social media activity.

Posted by Fadi El-Eter on November 19, 2013 at 10:46 AM EST #

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