Your social media team is vital to business growth, marketing and lead generation. It’s very important that you have the right skills in the team, the right structure in the team and many other things. Here, Jonnie Jensen walks through the skills, roles and needs a social media team…
How to hire or fire your social media team
What exactly is a social media manager? It is a job title that sprung up over the last five years to fulfil the task of looking after your businesses social media. The problem with job titles that never previously existed is that no-one really knows what that person should do or how you should measure their effectiveness. This is especially the case in organisations that barely had a grasp on their website strategy or online marketing. The net result is the wrong people being tasked with the job internally or worse, the wrong people have been employed in your social media team.
Having the right people, the right job descriptions and the right support is vital to the success of your online activity. It can involve some hard decisions and changes in culture but you need to make them.
Creating digital competence in your business
In the UK Business Digital Index 2015 study it was highlighted that businesses with a high level of digital skills competence are 1/3 more likely to have seen an increase in turnover in the past two years compared to those that are not well skilled.
I don’t believe this should come as a surprise and anyone who thinks digital is irrelevant to their business – frighteningly 26% in the study did – will find themselves quickly failing.
It starts from the top of the business and filters down through the organisation. From the basics of being able to network on LinkedIn, through to interpreting a Google Analytics or email campaign report, management needs to not just understand but be seen to lead from the front. For many companies this is a change in culture and I champion that point because only then will it be reflected in the way people are recruited and in the way existing staff are motivated, trained and reviewed.
Whilst working with a business coach recently I was encouraged to realise that if I hired a sales person without having any confidence in my own ability to sell our products and services then I would forever be in bind to that person. It is the same for recruiting and managing people responsible for your digital marketing. Too often I see marketing personnel being given the role and told ‘you can do our social media’ when clearly they cannot. Or worse, overly confident social media managers who have talked their way into a job because the person hiring them couldn’t challenge them enough on the experience stated in their CV.
If the digital competence of your business is not at the level it needs to be then that is ok. It is not in many companies. The answer is to realise this and get the right people alongside you to develop it.
Who should be managing your social media presence?
I have never been a big fan of the term social media. It should come as no surprise then that I don’t really advocate the role of social media manager. Social media does not need managing. Digital campaigns and content needs to be managed. Communities need managing. Likewise your social customer service needs responsibly looking after. Whilst it would be easy to get into an argument around semantics I believe the job title ‘social media manager’ creates the wrong attitudes within your business.
The function of social media management commonly falls into the marketing team. It probably makes most sense here but that does not mean they should be working in isolation from HR, sales or customer services. If you have these distinct teams in your business then they should all have some level of input or responsibility, as ultimately they could benefit or be impacted by what happens on your website and social channels. The benefits of social media marketing as identified by Social Media Examiners 2015 report back this point up.
Depending on the size of your business there is either three roles or three areas of responsibility that you need.
- Digital communications manager
- Community manager
- Social customer services manager
Each has its own objectives and areas of responsibility. Get this right and you will be able to plan, execute and measure the success of your online activity more effectively than ever before.
Core skills of someone looking after your social media
Across these three roles there are some prerequisites that should be asked of anyone representing your business online. It is not about being able to use Twitter or set up a Facebook page – you can learn this on YouTube. Most of these are natural abilities and core interests which you cannot really teach. If the person you want to represent your business online does not fit this profile then they are not the right person for the job.
- Regular use of the social web and social technologies
- Highly effective verbal and written communicator
- Good understanding of SEO, website design and Google Analytics
- Creative, ideas orientated and basic knowledge of image/video editing software
- Proactive results orientated self-learner
- Attention to detail and committed to customer service
- Analytical and able to base actions based on results
Remember, you can train someone who is willing to learn but you cannot change someone who does not want to change.
The three functions of an effective social media team
Digital Communications Manager
This person is responsible for raising awareness and driving traffic. Their responsibilities cover content and campaign management across your blog, email and social media. They are passionate about content and how it can be used to promote your business. This person’s understanding of how the web can be leveraged to your company’s advantage should be greater than anyone else in your business.
In every project or team meeting the will spot opportunities to create content that will benefit your company. With an ability to optimise that content they will be impacting the search engine success of your business and ensuring that people are talking about you across social networks (not to be confused with viral content).
The ability to manage projects is important in this role as the person will be ensuring that content is produced in a timely manner. Great content that reflects the values and skills of your business will not be written by just one person. In this respect your Digital Communications Manager must have the confidence to speak with people across your business and make demands on their time. It is vital that they do this professionally and have the support of senior management or else they will not be respected by others.
The final skill in this person’s armoury is campaign management. Understanding the basics of running a Google Adwords campaign and setting up a social advertising on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn have become vital to any organisation. If you investing in such paid advertising on a large scale then likely you will have an Agency supporting you but that is even more reason why you want someone in your business who can instruct them properly and asses the effectiveness of their work.
The role of Digital Communications is overtly commercial. More than anything, your social media activity is worthless without someone responsible for filling the top of your funnel. This person is the catalyst for traffic to your website and new leads into your business. These will be the key performance indicators which you measure their performance by.
Being the host of a party or leader of a networking event is not a natural role for everyone. So it is with a Community Manager; and not every marketing person is good at this job. You need this person to have a confident personality and you need to let them express this – as your business – online.
Across your social media channels your contacts should be considered a community. They need to be acknowledged, looked after and carefully lead to do what you want them to do. It is vital that the right people are being attracted into the community or all the efforts will be wasted. Alongside the content that is being created the Community Manager should be curating (finding and sharing) other people’s content and using that as a platform to engage industry influencers and prospects.
Take 5 minutes to watch this video I made giving tips for Community Managers…
The social media updates that get posted need to be planned out and consciously constructed so that they get noticed and engaged with. The importance of this being that engagement fuels the reach of social media – every time someone Like, retweet, comment or shares your social updates that persons contacts get notified of what they are doing.
Being able to this in a varied yet consistent manner is a skill that can only be developed when the Community Manager has a deep understanding of how each social channel works. Character limitations, @mentions, short urls, tracking codes, hashtags and calls to actions are all part of this persons armoury. Being able to overlay those tricks and tactics into images and videos, manipulated with online tools, ensures they are creating content that stands out from the crowd and gets your community regularly engaging with and sharing your content.
Your community manager will be responsible for brand awareness, engagement and reach across the social web. Each of which can be measured in your social media analytics.
Social customer services
In a world where there are few differentiators between price and product a company’s quality of service become vital if you want to stand out. Such an attention to customer service can be distilled out of your company’s values and ethos so it is important that you first start with why you do what you do for your customers. Be sure this is reflected in your content and community activity, and most importantly that is the foundations of your customer services.
By way of a recent personal experience I needed a replacement set of instructions for an Argos bed that I bought. Their website works great, their mobile app works great, their prices are great and even the delivery was pretty smooth. After waiting on hold for more than twenty minutes three times in a row and getting no response from Tweets I sent to their Twitter account, all trust is lost. Worse the tweets and frustrations were very public and now all my contacts have the same feeling about Argos as well. Oh and you do to….sorry Argos!
It takes an appreciation of how the social web works, a good understanding of customer service principals and a depth of experience and maturity around representing your business. This is clearly not a task for the intern or office junior. You can learn how to use Twitter in a day. You can’t assimilate business experience in the same time.
Net Promoter Score has become a widely accepted means for measuring the quality of service your business provides. Based on a sliding scale of 0-10 and the simple question “how likely are you to recommend this business or service to a friend or business associate?” NPS is an easy way to benchmark your customer satisfaction and likely loyalty.
As we all know it is cheaper to keep an existing customer than acquire a new one. If the metrics of NPS and loyalty are not measurements in your businesses performance then you will likely be missing out on potential revenues. Failing to realise the importance of having a positive image online and across the social web will both impact this.
Your social customer service activity can be measured based on your Net Promoter Score as well as the loyalty – and repeat revenues – of your customers.
If you and your team need to develop your digital skills get in touch with us to find out what we can do to raise your skill level. Contact email@example.com or call 0845 287 1181.