Putting the management pieces together.

Every coach knows that the performance of a winning team is much better than the individual talent each player brings. A group of good players working as a team will beat exceptional players playing independently every time. When assembling your social media team, it is more important to have people willing to work together for the company’s benefit than superstars focused on individual glory.

The best social media team includes members from marketing and customer care. Each brings a unique perspective and skill set to the game. The size of the team depends on the number of active marketing and sales channels in your organization. For example, a company that uses direct marketing, ecommerce, retail stores, social media, and a sales force to generate revenue would have seven members on the team.

Do I hear calculators adding up the salaries of these team members?

You can breathe a sigh of relief because none of them are working on social media exclusively (unless you want them to be.) Smart start social media teams begin with people working together part-time to develop and test strategies to find the best one for your company. In the beginning, there is little need for any full time members because no one is participating in your community. It doesn’t take as much time as some would have you think to integrate social media into your marketing mix. (It doesn’t take as little as others would have you believe either!)

The team consists of:

One member each from direct marketing, ecommerce, retail, and sales for a total of four members. These members participate to provide insight into their marketing efforts and insure that everything is working together for a seamless customer experience. (If your company has any of these channels integrated, reduce the number accordingly.)

One member from customer care. This member provides insight to customer expectations and is responsible for the execution of the strategy. (Who better to talk with your customers and prospects than the people already trained to do it?)

One member from IT. Many of the social media platforms and tools require technologically inclined people to configure them for the best results.

One social media master. There are a variety of paths to successful integration of social media into the marketing and customer care mix. This member guides the way past the minefields to minimize resource utilization and maximize return.

Creating a successful social media strategy is a process not an event. Unless your company has a cult following, your fan and follower base will start small. Your tweets and posts will have a limited audience. Initially, getting everything set up correctly will monopolize the time. (Translate “set up” into optimizing the platforms, choosing the tools, defining the metrics that matter, and creating content to attract participants. The reality is that you can’t create a strategic plan unless you know what motivates your community. You won’t know what motivates your community without testing.)

Once your community is established and participating, the primary activity shifts from setup to participation. There may be a lull of activity between the two stages. During this time, keep the content flowing and measure everything. Social media isn’t right for every business, but every business should test it to determine the value. Some won’t go beyond the set up and holding stages. Others will make the jump to an active community. When that happens, additional resources will be needed because your customers and prospects want more attention. Since you have defined your strategy well by testing for the best results, the additional expense is justifiable.