How to Build a Kick-@$$ Social Media Team

Sep 13, 2013 | Uncategorized

Knowing your goals, strategy, and metrics for social media are all important. But if you don’t have a social media team that can implement, you will have some serious issues getting the results you want. In our experience building social media teams for our clients and for ourselves, we’ve identified several key things to keep in mind when building your team.

Hire great writers. Social media can involve writing pitch emails, blog posts, tweets, Facebook posts, guides for other departments, and more. It is essential that some of your staff have significant experience writing, ideally in several different formats. Employees with copywriting experience tend to excel, as well as those with journalism backgrounds.

Using interns? Plan to double (at least!) your management time. Social media can involve a ton of manual labor. Monitoring tweets, writing blog posts, pitching bloggers, and building influencer databases can take a ton of time – we know! However we strongly advise avoiding the temptation to simply assign tasks to interns, and here’s why:

  • You need to teach them
  • You need to manage them
  • At the end of their summer/year/co-op/etc. when they leave, you lose all that investment of time

And after all that, it’s probably illegal anyway. The laws governing the use of (unpaid) interns dictate that they must get more benefit than the employer out of the relationship. The primary goal of an internship is teaching – any benefit to the business is secondary.

Of course we love interns, and often end up hiring them. However they are a resource to be used judiciously. If you do plan to use them, double the time you think it will take to train and manage them.

Look for team players. Obviously team-players are always important to company culture, however the importance is underscored for those in social media roles, because people managing social media must be able to work across all the silos/departments in a company. Customer service issues? Sales referral? Your social media team needs to be able to create connections to other departments and communicate the value that social media will deliver. That way, when there are opportunities or threats that require the involvement of other departments, everyone is bought in and aware of their role.

Use technology (that makes your team more collaborative and efficient). Technology is essential for managing, measuring, and collaborating on social media. However, it’s easy to try to use a tool for everything, and quickly become overwhelmed with learning, managing, and tweaking your tools. A rule we use at Social Fulcrum is to always do something manually for a month before using a tool, even if we know the exact tool we want to use. That way we ensure that we are only using a tool to make our work more efficient, as opposed to trying to use a tool to do our job for us. (Click here for our blog post on the best social media content management tools.)

Find a “Hack of all Trades.” Social media positions often involve extremely varied tasks. When certain initiatives kick-off, or when things go wrong, you want someone who (1) can get their hands dirty, (2) has varied skills in different areas, and (3) can learn how to scale certain tasks quickly. That’s why we’ve come up with the term “Hack of all Trades.” These people are similar to a “Jack of all trades,” and they add the crucial ability to hack together systems, initiatives, etc. when resources are scarce.

There you have it. This stuff isn’t rocket science, but it definitely makes a huge difference when you are trying to move the needle. Most importantly, focusing on these key areas up-front will prevent you from the horrible feeling you get when you realize your team isn’t qualified to implement the plan you’ve set forth. Have any tips of your own? How have you built your social media dream team? We’d love your input in the comments section below.

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