Social Media Teams: My Own Reality Check


Lindy Dreyer recently posted about social media teams.I was originally going to comment and then realized I had more to say than a comment would really do justice to.

She’s written an interesting post and I think it speaks to how social media should be run in an organization. It shouldn’t just be one person, because it affects everybody (much like marketing or a website), but a team that works together. You may have someone who does the primary implementation or an “expert” on staff for guidance, but it really should be a team effort.

I do have to say that it is easier said than done though. Here’s why I think so…

1. Silos – It’s not a big secret that associations have silos, we try to be open & communicative, but it’s usually the smaller staffs that are able to accomplish it just because the volume of work is smaller. Downside is that there could be less content. A lot of times the social media person needs to be getting content from the other departments to push out and it can becoming more of a trying to pull content out of other departments.

2. Employee apathy – I’ve been told by colleagues what a waste of time or an annoyance they think certain tools are, but then they still want the benefits of  the channel. That lack of dedication to understanding the tools can put the social media person in a position where they have to decide do they take it on or do they let the apathetic employee move forward, which could potentially damage what has been built.

3. Lack of knowledge – It takes time to learn how to use these tools properly, it also takes dedication to maintain the connections that you build. We do internal learning classes (taught by me), but I’ve found that some take to tools more quickly than others. When teaching classes I try to come at it from a personal perspective, because if someone understands how a tool benefits them personally, they then can more easily translate that into business purposes. This also usually results in increased dedication to using the tools & their postings have a bit more heart & personality.

Using the social media team (or community manager) to empower employees to speak on behalf of the association is the ultimate goal, I’d love to have it that way, but from my experience the reality is that your social media team has to act as “gatekeepers” (at least in the beginning) because though everyone wants the benefits of social media exposure, they don’t want to add another thing to their plate or they don’t have the time to learn the tools.

My job then becomes trying to pull the content out of different departments. I try to coordinate with others to create allies, but it can be difficult. Just as community building takes time with social media tools, it takes just as much time internally.

Coordinating can also be difficult across a large team. One thing I’m always very aware of is trying not to overwhelm our channels with content. There are only so many Facebook status updates one should do in a day on a Fan Page, so you have to balance your content. Sometimes things get pushed ahead, sometimes things need to be held, etc.

Though I think Lindy is right on about how it should be, I think it can be very difficult to do such a thing.


5 Responses to “Social Media Teams: My Own Reality Check”

  1. I think Lindy’s post is starting a meme because I’m thinking I need to blog about this now too, or risk filling up your comment stream! While in a perfect world–and maybe we’ll get there eventually–there would be social media teams across organizations, you are SO, SO right when you describe why it’s not as easy as it sounds. What you describe here has been my experience to a “T”–it’s scary how right you are, especially since we’ve never even had a conversation about this! I don’t know if this is specific to associations; I suspect not. The silo thing, maybe, but the people not wanting to add anything else to their plates–I’m pretty sure that’s universal.

    I’m talking about people who SHOULD know this stuff and should care, because if they ever lose their current jobs and have to hit the pavement, social media skills will definitely be required of the positions they’d be going for. Even those people don’t want to be bothered, don’t want to learn, don’t want to “waste time” doing anything related to social media. You’re exactly right–they want the results so they can put on their performance reviews that they did “social media” x, y or z–at least they know enough to want to claim bragging rights to those things–but as for actually getting their own hands dirty? Forget it.

    Then you get into dueling priorities–some people think the organization should be using social media to earn money and see it solely as a marketing tool; others are horrified at the idea of tying it even remotely to marketing anything and think it should be solely about X or Y.

    I’ll digress now….but A.M.E.N. to everything you said! I’m sure there are plenty of workplaces that don’t function this way but I’m sure there are equally many–if not more–that much more closely resemble what your’e describing than the way it ideally should be. Hopefully time will change that as social media becomes more incorporated into every person’s job…but I’m not holding my breath.

  2. Excellent post thank you for the info

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