Staffing sets the tone for how social media is executed in any company. Many beginning social media programs are not driven through official channels, but are started by passionate individuals who make time in their schedules for these activities. Things like job descriptions, reporting structures, performance reviews and compensation plans cause others in the company to take new roles and activities seriously. As you plan your social media growth, make sure to meet with the Human Resources department so your social media skills can be considered in an official capacity.
Every company is different in how they mature with regard to social media, but here the stages that generally apply to how companies staff for social media.
When a few people, or one person, starts participating in social media on behalf of a company, they are doing it at the expense of something else. This is often a tactical decision, rather than a strategic one. Someone in the marketing department registers a Twitter account to make sure squatters don’t take the name. Maybe you get approval to set up a social media profile account for an event or to run an Instagram contest. This is not a bad thing because everyone needs to start somewhere.
These decentralized efforts should be viewed as building blocks for expanding social media personnel. Even if no one is doing any social media for your company, start thinking what social media responsibilities look like. Keep your higher level business strategies in mind, because connecting employees’ activities to common goals can help make the case for resources.
In this next stage of social media maturity, there is definitely an official social media program with staff in multiple departments, including many with social media as an official part of their job descriptions. Social media may still only be a small part of each employee’s responsibilities, but this is progress. Control of social media activities is centralized within one of the leading departments, usually marketing or corporate communications, as they are responsible for company messaging.
Your social media leaders are starting to emerge, because someone needs to develop strategies and policies to move forward. Many companies collaborate with outside resources, but there is a need for a strong internal presence for social media to grow across your organization. Look to the VP of Marketing or the CMO for guidance, but these critical steps are based on strategy and company culture.
A full-time social media manager or director is the keystone of reaching this next stage of maturity. Now that someone is in charge, it is time to move social media to the hub and spoke organizational model. The hub can be a small team, possibly cross-functional, that is responsible for strategy, policy and training, while the spokes, which can be functional groups, product groups or even geographical groups, are responsible for execution. This assumes that as your company has reached a place that it needs a social media manager, it has also scaled up it’s social media activities in general.
A social media council can also serve as the hub in this stage. This is a cross functional group that includes representatives from departments beyond marketing or communications, like sales, support, human resources, legal, IT, compliance. This group is lead by the social media manager or director and can also set policy and strategy. This internal group also can help evangelize social media in other parts of the organization. Learn more about creating a social media council in our Social Media Blueprint ebook.
At the same time that a company develops social media positions, the human resources team starts understanding how social media fits into recruiting new employees and retaining existing employees. Prospective employees can be discovered and vetted through their social media profiles before they even send in a resume. Recruiters also need to be aware what job applicants are saying on social media about the hiring process. This is part of a company’s brand perception. Oh, and current employees use social media, too. Someone needs to listen to their public comments and complaints. This one is more than brand perception, but employees are most companies’ most important asset, and someone needs to know what they’re really thinking.
Dedicated and Multiple
The fully mature company has reached a state where many people in the company have full-time social media roles. These are social media managers, community managers and even social media analysts to make sure all aspects of social media fit the plan and meet the goals. According to Jeremiah Owyang of the Altimeter Group, the average corporate social media team has 11 members. The social media council is not a distant memory, but an active group that is interested in continuing to grow and scale social media throughout the organization.
The hub can continue to grow and become a center of excellence, which can provide social media guidance for multiple hubs across the company. The center of excellence can even become a company differentiator, as your social media staff shares best practices with the external world through blogging and conference speaking.
How your company fills roles and organizes for social media is just one component of the Marketing Cloud Social Maturity Model. Answer 10 simple questions to see how your company ranks across all of the categories.