How to keep a social media manager inspired

5 LinkedIn posts, 15 tweets, 5 Facebook posts to produce every day, and a small crisis on the horizon may almost seem refreshing! Community management with the same old questions asked and discussed, an endless list of ideas for new content, but only a few that really has the potential to rock…
The question is: How do you keep a social media manager inspired over time?  

Being the social media manager can evoke a fantastic feeling of being on top of the brand, in the centre of the news flow, and in direct contact with the  customers every day. Being a social media manager can unfortunately also be the opposite: A lonely job at the outskirts, not quite aware of the company’s strategic direction nor fully informed about upcoming near-term events, yet expected to generate great engagement and grow brand preference. Naturally, it’s more likely that a social manager in the first situation will help the company build a productive social media presence and an interesting brand online.

What does a social media team need to do a good job?
I had the pleasure to listen to Karianne Stinson, Priceline,  the other week and according to her, social media teams have 3 distinct needs to work efficiently:

  1. Centralized strategy and planning
  2. Direction tied to business goals
  3. Dedicated tactical execution

Stinson’s three needs are spot-on! In my experience, social media teams need just the same things as any other team in a company to succeed: A clear purpose and a good understanding of how their work relates to the business goals.

Using Stinson’s three bullets as the basis for my thoughts, I’d express it like this:

  1. Strategy: A company should have one strategy only to steer the communications planning. Social media should be an integrated part of the overall communications plan, with a direct link to the strategy. On a more practical level, this would mean that strategic choices such as “what social channels should we prioritize”, “what is our tone of voice”, etc, are centrally decided and serve as the basis for the social media team’s daily priorities irrespective of how they are organized.
  2. Business goals: Supporting the business goals should always be the focus for the social media work. Whether the ultimate goals are increased sales, improved brand perception, or something else, the social media team must be aware to be able to develop the smartest tactics for the channels. Best case, the detailed social media goals can be directly traced back to the overall business goals, e.g. “X% of sales generated through social”, but when that is not possible at least it’s important to ensure that the social media goals support the right direction.
  3. Dedicated tactical execution: I wrote about this in a recent blog and it’s so obvious. For a productive social media presence, an organization needs to appoint dedicated people. Based on the strategy, planning, and the business goals, these are the people who will actually make it happen. With a competent team and the time allowed to concentrate on the work, miracles can come true.

So how do you keep a social media manager inspired
over time?
It may seem simple but the key does lie in the three bullets above, as an organized approach like this. It will give the social media team the freedom and the responsibility needed to stay creative and engaged and in addition, they will be able to present measurable results that are relevant to the business.
A strategy relevant to social media and shared with the team. A team who understands their role and how their work can contribute to achieving the business goals. And finally, that there actually is a social media team.

A loner at the outskirts may certainly have a good conversation with her/his followers, but a dedicated team who bring their hearts to work will also build brand value.

Blog first publishing on LinkedIn on September 22, 2015


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