‘A social media team can be a business’s best investment or their worst nightmare.’
I remember my last CEO telling this to me as we were about to board the flight back. We had just won the social media account of Lamborghini in India and were celebrating at the Airport Lounge.
We had not even finished the ‘beverage’ when he got a call, saying that a stupid copywriting error cost us an account, a very important one.
I did not give it much thought back then. However, when I assumed a far more important role in another agency, I started pondering over the statement much more.
This was because; I had to set up my agency’s social media team. Setting up a new vertical is challenging, or even daunting to say the least.
You do not concern yourself only with planning strategies; you have to do much more than that. For the last few months, I wanted to write about this topic. I wanted to explore and understand what makes a social media team click.
In other words, I wanted to set up my own ‘Social Media Dream Team’!
In this article, I will look at what makes a team create the perfect social media marketing strategy. I will also look at two main issues that you any agency or brand needs to look at-
- The intent of the team (the theoretical basis of their existence)
- The personnel of the team (the people who will run the show)
So what are we waiting for? Let us jump right in
What is the Intent behind your Social Media Team?
The social media universe nears the 4 billion-user mark. This is a phenomenal and overwhelming number by any stretch of the imagination. There are over ten social media platforms, which command over 100 million active users every month.
Facebook still dominated the social media ecosystem. Instagram is a close second. IN terms of content type, video is the big thing and YouTube is necessary for every brand, regardless of size or scale.
Given this very basic yet relevant information, why do you want to build your social media team?
The answer might seem a tad bit too obvious, but trust me; there are nuances that we cannot afford to miss.
i) Is your intent purely branding and connecting with fans?
For some brands and agencies, the true function of social media is just about branding, connecting and seeking aspirations. Have you ever wondered why luxury brands never sell or run any paid campaigns on social media?
For them, social media is all about reaching out to fans and followers. It is a means for creating aspiration and invoking loyalty.
When you are looking at social media from this perspective, you would need a different kind of a team. This team would have storytellers, brand managers, and the like. You do not need too much strategy to execute performance-driven sales or lead gen campaigns.
ii) Is your intent running Lead Gen and Sales Conversion Campaigns?
When I had joined the industry, the word ‘sales’ was a taboo in a creative agency. I remember as a Junior Copywriter when the client would ask me as to why we are not generating queries on social media.
Cut to 2019 and several social media campaigns later, I am a changed human being. All our agency pitches start with a strong, borderline obsessive ‘Sales’ and ROI angle.
This is the dynamism and evolution of social media as a digital platform. If your intent is ROI driven, you would need a highly strategic, skilled and sales and marketing-oriented social media team.
Does the ‘Intent’ behind a team really matter that much?
This is not to say that the above two categorizations are watertight compartments. That is definitely not the case. Most social media teams are a healthy blend of the above two.
However, given the specialization and competition in the field, assembling experts, rather than generalists is a better idea.
Most people, who are used to the first intent, will find it harder to make the transition to the second intent. The same holds true vice versa.
If you are in the industry for some time, you will realize that every word in a Post Copy matter. Every CTA in a Creative Copy can make or break a sale.
From a design perspective, the intricacies are so pronounced that they would require a special article altogether.
Right from the strategy to the content pillars, an ROI driven social media approach is infinitely different from a mere branding one. The best agencies are the ones who create specific teams that pertain to their intentions.
We need to understand that the thought process and expectations from social media have changed. Brands who want sales and revenues from social media demand teams to understand sales and marketing.
Here the intention behind the social media marketing strategy needs to be decisive, profitable and trackable.
I am not saying that one is tougher than the other one. What I am trying to state is that it is a specialization. Both the intentions have their own set of challenges.
The Designations who make the Social Media Dream Team
In the following section, I will outline the number of members that a social media team should ideally have.
Let me start with a disclaimer.
I always believe that small teams of high performing individuals are much productive than bigger teams.
I am also in favor of people having multiple skill sets.
If there is someone who wants to learn, I would be more than willing to help him or she acquires a new set of skills. My social media team comprises of 5 High Performing Individuals (HPIs).
1. Creative and Social Media Strategy Head (a.k.a. the one with the fancy laptop!):
S/He is the leader of the pack. The one who runs the show. The one with solutions to all problems and challenges. This person is the one who pitches, who drafts the Creative Strategy and who sets the macro picture.
From creatives to designs, from campaigns to client management, the creative head has knowledge of everything. S/he does not involve themselves with day-to-day affairs. However, when it is time for a creative overhaul or some big-budget holiday campaigns, they are there.
The ideal experience for someone to be a Creative and Strategy Head can be a period of 3-5 years. Sometimes it depends on the size of the agency as well. I have seen many copywriters and designers become great Creative Heads.
P.S. – The best creative heads are also familiar with SEO and other digital marketing strategies.
2. Social Media Copywriter + Content Writer (a.k.a. the Artist):
Let us get one thing clear at the very outset. A copywriter possesses a different skill set than a content writer. Social media copywriting is an art. A good copywriter visualizes a creative with words. There is a joke that a copywriter’s imagination is unbounded by rationality.
However, a copywriter who is able to create SEO friendly content is the biggest asset to an agency or brand. If you have one person creating all the blogs, articles and social copy, you have a winner!
I always believe that social media is a bottoms-up approach. It means that it all starts with the copywriter. It is their story, their script, and their vision. Without a great copywriter, you are as good as a boat without a rudder.
3. The Visualizer (a.k.a. the Wandering Nomad):
I once worked with a designer who took great offense when someone called him a designer. He wanted everyone to refer to him as a visualizer. A designer is someone who gives shape to ideas. I am totally against working with separate video editing teams.
For me, a great designer works on all digital mediums- image and video. Video editing teams do not keep working with a client for a very long time. They do not get the brand or the design language. The designer understands the finer nuances, the story, and the journey.
If there ever is a team that you would want to succeed, it is your designer and copywriter. If they establish sync, no matter what storm you go through, they will weather it. Putting words into images and videos is the greatest miracle you can see playing out in front of your eyes.
4. The Advertiser (a.k.a. Number’s Guru!):
This is a recent addition to my team. One that was necessitated by the changing nature of social media platforms. The social media advertiser is someone who is certified by Facebook and Google. S/he is responsible for all forms of paid promotions and campaigns.
From boosting posts to running lead gen campaigns, an advertiser fixes the paid part of any social media marketing strategy. Many teams have different analysts who inform copywriters and designers of many trends and stats.
In my social media team, my advertiser is entrusted to be the person with the figures. I feel it is all but a natural progression. This also allows him to closely follow the client and stay engaged. I have seen most advertisers know nothing about the client. Their specialization is staying aloof and handling credit cards.
5. The Account Manager (a.k.a. Mother of all Dragons!):
The one who has to demonstrate the biggest patience of them all. The one who also has to hear everything from everyone- Client, Boss, Team, and the Cafeteria Manager! I strongly believe that agencies underrate the role and importance of great Account Managers.
If you want to be fancy, or a bit boutique, try Client Relationship Managers. However, I am a bit old fashioned and AM suits me just fine. A good AM helps settle and ease accounts into a normal flow. They are also the biggest defendants of their team. Try hurting anyone on their team and they will jump on you like a spurned cat.
They do a fine job of balancing work, hopes, and aspirations. Having a good AM who is great at their job is an invaluable asset.
P.S. – They are also the ears of the CEO on the desk!
Post the super 5, there are other people who might be working intermittently with the team. These involve photographers, videographers and art directors. I always insist on my designer going out on the product and video shoots. Encouraging a designer to work with the art director and the photographer gives him a better perspective. Ditto goes for the copywriter as well.
Most people working in agencies might be thinking as to the number of clients that such a team can service. In my experience, a team of five high performing individuals can handle 4-5 high-value clients easily.
We are talking about two daily social media posts across five social platforms. We are also talking about a couple of long-format blogs per week. This does not take place in a chaotic atmosphere. Rather, it is streamlined, planned, and peaceful and runs according to a content strategy.
If you really want to keep your social media team sharp, let them pitch to new clients, at least once a month. This really helps to stir up their creative juices. This also helps in team building and nurturing the right spirit.
I have often found that most agencies indulge in frivolous wastefulness. This leads to massive hiring sprees, unfulfilled employees and poor quality of work. This should be avoided at all costs. Award-winning Creative Agencies are composed of small, well-knit expert teams of high performing individuals.
When assembling your social media dream team, quality supersedes quantity by a rather fair margin…
If you wish to know more about social media marketing, feel free to reach out to me. Do let me know what you thought about the article in the comments section below.