Business Today

The A-Team

A look at how to build a great social media team.
By Tushar Kanwar   Delhi     Print Edition: February 14, 2016
A look at how to build a great social media team.
Before you go handpicking your social media A-Team, a healthy amount of introspection is in order. (Photo: Ajay Thakuri)

It's a given that your business needs to be on social. But if you are still winging it with your social media efforts - maybe you have a wide-eyed intern or an already overworked marketing executive managing your firm's social accounts - watch out! Numerous brands burn bridges with their digital audiences simply because they have the wrong folks on the job. If social is key to your marketing mix (as it should be), you will have to be picky about who is going to manage your social media presence, and what skills they ought to bring to the table.

Before you go handpicking your social media A-Team, a healthy amount of introspection is in order. Do you have goals in place for the social media team? For instance, will it drive sales via promotions or offers, and will there be an aspect of customer service as well? Is buzz your primary motive? Either way, setting goals and metrics for what you hope to achieve with the social media team is a good idea even before you make that first hire.

Now, on to staffing the team. The cornerstone of the team would be a social media manager, a person who knows how the social media function fits into the big picture and understands the goals and metrics set. Someone from the marketing team could grow into this role, but it is not to be taken lightly. This person will be forwarding queries, leads and conversations to the right teams to track, so organisation awareness is key. Good writing skills, mature temperament and a keenly developed sense of diplomacy are vital.

Next, you would need one or more community managers supporting the social media manager. These are folks who are great at engaging with customers and your digital audience, and know exactly what the company wants to say, and how it wants to say it. Whether it is a compelling blog post or quickly responding to customer questions or comments, community managers should be great conversationalists and have a knack for developing immensely shareable content.

Keeping a watchful eye on the proceedings would be the marketing analyst, typically someone with a head for numbers, who would be more interested in social media tracking and analytics - essentially, measurable stuff that justifies the social media spend and allows you to track the team's ROI. These are people with one eye on the rear view mirror and one on the road ahead, and can tell you, quantifiably, how the social landscape is changing and where to go next in terms of media spend.

Depending on your scale, this could be all you need to get started, more so if you have a creative team within the marketing function to help with infographics and collateral for social media posts and campaigns. Just keep in mind that while you have a social media team in place, it's equally important to lean on the digital natives in your company - typically, people within the marketing, tech or PR teams who have an established social presence or a blog - for guidance on how to reach out to new followers and engage with them. These are people who are plugged into the latest trends and memes, purely out of personal interest, and will see the social media function as a natural extension to what they revel in outside of work.

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