By Arik Hanson
One question I’ve consistently heard from companies re: social media marketing over the last 10 years of consulting has simply been: What are other companies doing with their social media teams?
Implied in that comment are the following sub-questions:
- Where do these social media teams sit in the organization? Who do they report up through?
- How many people should be on our social media team? What should the titles be?
- What should our social media team be responsible for?
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Remember, social media is still a relatively new thing–it’s only been around for 10 years or so now. So, I don’t think it’s all that surprising that companies are asking all these kinds of questions about how to build and nurture a social media team.
Rhonda Hughes, head of social at SurveyMonkey, recently took the initiative and polled her friends and colleagues about what other social teams look like. In total, Rhonda collected almost 300 responses (not bad!).
There were four big takeaways:
- Companies still don’t know where to put social–was split fairly evenly among comms, digital, social media, brand and content.
- Most social teams are small–27% of companies had just one social person; 23% had 2 and 16% had 3; that’s a full 66% of companies with 3 social people or fewer! On the flip side, only 11% of companies had 11 or more social employees.
- Social teams are under-resourced. When asked if they were adding headcount this year 29% said yes, 24% said no and 47% said: “I wish”.
- The laundry list of items social media teams are responsible for is long–and growing. Broadly speaking, 60% of respondents said their team oversees both paid and organic social strategy. 43% also manage global social media across both U.S. and international. But, they had a huge list of activities in here that social teams managed–speaks to #3 above.
These results don’t tell us anything we didn’t essentially already know.
We knew social didn’t necessarily sit in one consistent spot in the organization.
We knew most social teams were 1-2 person bands.
We certainly new social teams were under-resourced.
And, we’re all well aware of the laundry list of tasks and to-dos social teams are responsible for on a day-in, day-out basis.
So, what are the takeaways here? I have a few takes based on my experiences working with social teams over the last 10 years:
- Social should sit in marketing, but be run by comms people. Controversial take right out of the gate! I think social should sit in marketing for one big reason–budget. Let’s not beat around the bush–marketing teams have money. Comms usually have to fight tooth-and-nail for the budget. I’ve seen this scenario play out way too many times for it not to be an almost universal truth. I also think social teams should be run by people with comms (or journalism, in some cases) backgrounds. Look at some of the social media teams in the Twin Cities–they’re led by and made up of former journalists (Sue Serna at Cargill, Kevin Hunt at General Mills, and a host of …read more
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