How many marketers does it take to manage a social media account? Don’t be offended, that question is not the start of a bad joke (I know my audience). It’s actually a very serious consideration for all B2B marketing departments.
As you know, social media strategies differ from company to company, and there are many “correct” models to follow. For some, having one person that manages all outlets is the best approach. Others divide and conquer, with a dedicated “Facebook Guy” separate from their “Twitter Gal.” Some choose to outsource all of it to a specialized content marketing or social media management agency. Whatever route you decide to take, there are pros and cons to each approach.
A Dedicated Social Media Manager
A few years back, it was somewhat rare to find a company with a dedicated social media manager, as those responsibilities tended to fall on some unwitting (and sometimes, unwilling) member of the marketing team. But, as the use of social media has grown, notably in the B2B enterprise space, it’s now fairly common. The reason being is that, after years of trial and error, companies now have an actual social media management strategy. They know the social landscape. They have conversion goals. They measure social media marketing performance. And, with a plan in place, they need someone to execute it. That someone is the dedicated social media manager.
The benefits of this approach have already been alluded to: Having a dedicated individual for social media management makes it easier to implement a new strategy and, more importantly, to maintain and measure it. It is also much easier to transform one voice to reflect the tone of your company than it is to synchronize a choir of contributors. And, with the right tool, one person can easily manage a variety of social media accounts.
Of course, this approach does have its drawbacks. For one, having a single social media manager also means that you have a single point of failure. What happens when they take a two week vacation? What happens when they leave the company? You’ll have to recruit and train another employee to handle these responsibilities, which takes time and resources.
This also raises the question of hiring someone for the role in the first place. Do you hire from within the company? Or, do you bring in a new employee? A current employee will better understand how the company works, and why it works, which ultimately leads to a better understanding of the brand image the organization is trying to project. On the other hand, bringing in a social media manager from outside the company gives you the opportunity to hire a professional who can dedicate all of their time and expertise to painting the best possible picture of your brand – right from the very beginning.
A strong and unique social media marketing presence is extremely important for the image of your company, but it may not always be a job for one single person. Larger companies often build a social media management team, comprised of multiple social media managers that fill different roles and carry out different tasks.
A Social Media Team
Like many larger organizations, you may decide that social media management cannot fall on the shoulders of a lone contributor. Instead, you may deem it to be a group effort. So, for those who have the resources, a social media marketing team is created.
The benefits of this approach are somewhat obvious: You have multiple resources all dedicated to executing your social media marketing plan. You have defined roles and a division of labor. No channel is neglected.
But, these benefits can quickly become liabilities. Though you may be confident with every member of your social media team, it can be difficult to synchronize everyone’s activities and, more importantly, their voice. With each individual comes a separate mind, a separate thought process, and a separate voice. The staple of a strong social media presence is an identifiable voice that stays consistent across all social media platforms, making collaboration a challenge for any social media team.
But with the right coaching—and with the right platform—a marketing team leader can assign specific permissions and tasks, allowing individual members of the marketing team to collaborate in a sufficient and secure manner. For example, you can put roles and permission in place, where one team member can generate posts and schedule them in draft mode, another team member reviews the posts, while yet another person collects and analyzes the results.
Tools like this give each member of the team a better understanding of his or her role, working as a gear in the well-oiled machine that is responsible for securing your company’s B2B marketing presence in the ever-changing world of social media.
It’s important to note that a social media team may consist of employees with other responsibilities in your organization (sales, marketing, product, customer support, etc.). Your social media team could, for instance, consist of one social media manager, a team of specialists, or a group of employees within the organization, which leads nicely into the next approach…
The Social Enterprise
Apart from a manager and group of dedicated individuals, an organization would ideally like its entire staff to play a part in the brand’s social strategy, right? Not necessarily with administrating and reporting, but through basic sharing.
Think of it this way: Your employees are often your biggest fans, and giving them an opportunity to communicate for your brand can give the company a human voice that reflects the passion of those who believe in it most. With this approach, your social media team (or manager or agency) sets the strategy and produces the content, but makes it easy for employees to share via various channels.
Getting all of your employees on board with social media contribution gives your company a great opportunity to reach its full potential in the marketplace. Marketing is an inherently competitive trade, so building competition within your office can light the flame that will fuel content generation and expand your social reach. It may sound like a daunting task, but today’s best social media management platforms allow you to assemble and motivate your team more effectively than William Wallace, himself.
Side Note: A huge part of what Oktopost calls “employee advocacy” is the ability to review performance. In Oktopost, you can easily view the number of clicks and shares generated by each member and identify the most valuable players via the Leaderboard. These features allow for the identification of top brand ambassadors, the creation of an incentive program, and the ability to track the overall impact employee advocacy has on your social media performance. As more employees begin to make an impact on your social media campaigns, you can sync social data with marketing automation and CRM platforms to truly answer the question: “Is this working?”
While employee advocacy can create synergy and long-term success in your social media marketing campaigns, it does require a large amount of time. While time is often of the essence for growing businesses, it can be unreasonable to expect your employees to consistently contribute time and thought to social media.
Social Media Agencies
A trusted social media agency can be a huge asset to a growing company. The operative word in that last sentence being “trusted.” Handing your social media accounts over to just any old agency is like letting someone you’ve never met talk to your clients, in your voice. This is a scary thought for many marketers!
But, with the right agency – and I know a lot of them – a larger organization can feel confident knowing their social strategies are being implemented effectively and professionally.
For smaller companies or companies with minimal marketing budgets, it isn’t always financially feasible to bring in an agency to jumpstart a social media campaign. For them, it’s best to take the reins themselves, build the brand organically, and then make the handoff at the optimal time.
What’s Best for You?
So how many marketers does it take to manage social media? The answer is 42. Kidding. I hope to have shown that there are many correct answers to this question, and that your success with each approach depends on your level of commitment, your strategy and goals, and also the platform you chose.
As marketers on the front lines (many of whom manage social media), I’m interested to get your take on this matter. Leave a comment below, or send me your response via the social outlet of your choice!