Recently I was contacted by a large consulting firm who asked that I be a part of a study they were Three Pillars compiling on social media.  They told me that I would remain anonymous in the report, and expressed an interest in learning what I would recommend for businesses engaging in social media.  "How should businesses staff for social," they asked.  While we were chatting I said something that made me laugh out loud (I tend to do this when I'm on a role, and chatting social - I just GO ...). I was talking about my firm belief that there must be internal advocates within any organization that are serious about social media.  But that's not the part that made me laugh. I told them that companies should ask their employees who would be interested in being part of a sort of social media task force - this is when I stated "The creme will be the team"....I felt like Mr. T had taken over my body for a second- which is why it made me laugh.  

It was funny - but I really believe this.  

The creme of the crop in your organization (if asked) will most certainly step up to aid in a social media task force.  If nothing else - ask.  I know you'll be surprised what comes up.  I've worked with clients who assure me that their team members have no interest in social media, and when they finally get around to asking if anyone would be interested in helping to generate social media content we've discovered Mommy Bloggers, and Twitterhaulics!

That being said - here are (what I believe) are the three pillars for social media success: 

1. Internal Team 

Even if you're paying an outside agency to help with your content creation and distribution you must have internal buy-in and advocacy with social.  Content creation becomes easier the more your team understands how social media works. Ideally you want at least one point person to help aggregate content on your behalf.  An internal team will most certainly be an asset in supporting the content that an agency assists with generating - they can comment, like, re-tweet and generally get the content in front of your brand advocates. 

2. External Help

This certainly sounds self serving - well it's my blog post so I can write what i want - if you disagree, I'd love to hear from you. Actually, I'm kidding - please only post if you agree with me.  Kidding again.  I believe that many companies are too close to truly see the potential they have to compete in the social places.  An outsite agency (if they're doing things properly) will ask the right questions and help the brand to better understand themselves, their goals in social media (KPI's), and how they want to be percieved in the social media ecosytem. It doesn't hurt to have an external agency to help with social media policies, and guidlelines as well

3. Third Party Technology

This is a tricky one.  While I'm not advocating that everyone go out and spend thousands of dollars on social media technology, I am saying that as you grow, you will need technology to support your social media efforts. It can be as simple as using Hootsuite, or as robust as using Engage121 - whatever your choice the technology solutions are out there, and will certainly enhance your companies social media endeavors.  As you grow you will need technology to scale.

So there you have it - the three pillars of social media success.  What do you think?  Add comments below, or find me on Twitter @cdessi