biz ladiesLife & Business

biz ladies: How to Create a Perfect Social Media Team

by Stephanie

Today’s Biz Ladies post comes from previous contributor Katrina Padron. She is the creator of Smart-Simple-Social, a weekly newsletter that teaches business owners strategies for creating a community of fans who love what you do and happily share your products and services with their friends. Katrina is also co-creator of The Create + Connect Project, a program that helps creative entrepreneurs turn their passion into profit. In the past, Katrina has shared tips on how to create a fan-base from scratch, and today she focuses on creating a team of social media experts for your business. Thanks, Katrina, for such a helpful post! — Stephanie

Read the full post after the jump . . .

Social media can seem overwhelming. Let’s face it — if you are running a business, you are really busy running the business, right? Have you ever thought, “I just want someone else to do it for me”? You’re in luck. Just like other projects in your business, you can train your staff to use social media to create relationships with your customers and get your business out there.

Here’s everything you need to know about getting your team ready for the social media front lines:

Start with a recruiting session. Depending on the size of your team, you might be able to hand-select this team, or you could ask for input from your managers. Be strategic. Look for passionate, tech-savvy people who are skilled communicators.

Tell people what you are doing and why. Try a script like this:

Our vision for 2012 is to reach out to more fans, build partnerships and attract more people to our brand. We are getting on Facebook and are looking for passionate, tech-savvy team members who want to join us.

Plan a training session. Once you have a handful of people committed to your social media team, schedule a training session. These meetings are most effective when everyone can see the same screen. If your team is local, your training session could be done in a training room with your computer screen projected. If that is not an option, use an online webinar service provider with screen-sharing options. The best free resource for screen sharing is Skype or anymeeting.com.

Create your presentation. Cover each of these topics:

1. Identify your purpose. The most effective way to use social media is to build relationships with your customers. Your purpose might be creating a community of fans who love what you do and happily spread the good word.

2. Set frequency expectations. Plan to have a few posts each day. Depending on the size of your team, this might mean that one person posts once per day or maybe just a couple times a week.

3. Set content expectations. The biggest social media question is, “I’m on Facebook and Twitter — what do I say?” You really have to know your target customer, but use “e-cubed.” E-cubed is educate, empower and entertain. Consider your ideal target fan and brainstorm posts that she would find educational, empowering and entertaining.

  • You are a commercial interior designer. Your target is a decision maker at a development company. They might find “how ‘green’ design innovations are impacting the bottom line” educational and empowering. Post that.
  • You have an antique furniture shop. Your target is an interior designer. It might be entertaining and educational to know the history of the piece, or it might be empowering to know how to restore the piece. Post that.

4. Determine your relationship-building to self-promotion ratio. A common issue to address beforehand is how many relationship-building posts you want and how much self-promotion you would like to see. I recommend the 80/20 rule: 80% relationship building and 20% self-promotion. That ratio will help you achieve your goal of creating fan communities who love what you do and happily spread the good word.

5. Give admin access. Giving your team members admin access will allow them to create posts as your business rather than their personal profiles. Your fans will only see your business profile picture instead of the individual person’s picture. If you would like to know whom the post came from and to encourage ownership, ask your team to type their names after each post. To set up admin access, you will need team members’ personal email addresses that they use to log in to Facebook, and they will need to “Like” your business’ Facebook page. Watch this tutorial to learn exactly how to set up admin access.

Develop your Social Media Guidelines. Require every team member to read, sign and adhere to your established social media guidelines. You are allowing your team members to communicate with fans on your behalf and want to make sure they uphold the brand standards, represent your business in a favorable light and maintain ongoing contact with you regarding concerns or progress. Feel free to use this sample.

You are busy running your business. Put these steps in action to guide your team through your social media goals: reach out to more fans, build partnerships and attract more people to your brand.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear about your biggest social media challenges. I’ll be there to help address them.

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  • Excellent post! Now, quick question: how would that work if you are a one-woman-band? Do you pay other people to help you? Do you offer some sort of incentive? I could definitely use some help on this so I can focus on other areas of my business!

  • @sara – I know being a one women band is tough because you wear all the hats! This is a controversial topic but I do recommend hiring out portions of your social media strategy if you do not have a team to allow you to do what you do well, which is your business. It’s still import for you to have a presence there, but people can help take the load off. If you were hiring it out, the most important thing to consider is vision. Be sure the person understands the big picture of what you are trying to do.

    @nicole – thank you so much for reading!

  • Thanks so much Stephanie. Perfect timing. I’ve been doing social marketing for two small businesses and am trying to expand my consulting services. You clearly articulate what my partners and I have been talking about when we plan our pitch to prospective clients. Every company has to customize its social marketing approach to its particular product, customer base, message, etc.

  • @ Sara, i was wondering the same thing!! where to begin? Who’s that first person you recruit to bring the social media side of things together? if you craigslist it, what do you say?

  • I work as a social media manager for business fan pages, my clients are busy and they find that outsourcing this kind of work really helpful, it can be easy to spend hours on social media marketing when you aren’t focused on the goal – by paying someone else who is given a brief an understands the subtleties of sm marketing you can save a lot of time and concentrate on the new customers and developing your products!

  • Yes, this is a great start. One question – the link for the sample Social Media Guidelines seems to be broken. Can you please repost? Thank you!

  • Perfect timing. I’m part of a volunteer organization that supports our local library. A year ago we hired someone to create a facebook page for us, and I think it’s a total waste of a lot of money. We’re an older crowd and I think we fear becoming obsolete, but I don’t think we have a use for facebook. We have a website, and I think that might be all we need. Thoughts?

  • A great and thought-provocing article once again! I hope one day I can take my small hobby-business to the point that I can have a social media team even if it is just one pair of extra helping hands.

  • @ Liz –

    @ Chrisie C + @Sara – The best place to start is with a social media strategist because the person needs to understand your vision, but then also needs to create a strategy, content and integration for what you are trying to do – website, blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, etc all needs to be cohesive. I’d be more than happy to schedule a consultation to see if I can help you get this started. info@katrinapadron.com

    @ Hilary – You are so right about saving time on sm. Too many business owners accidentally spend way too much time.

    @ Betsy – Thanks

    @ Kate – I think you must be on Facebook, even with an older crowd. The older generations are certainly and spending a lot of their time (especially looking at pictures of grandkids and such). The secret for you is going to be to target your messaging to attract the demo and to use it as outreach to the younger demo. It is completely possible.

    @Hanna – Good luck and you can do it!

  • I’m mostly leaving a comment to note that the creation of a social media team is probably aimed more at medium/large rather than small/tiny businesses.

    I agree that it’s a good idea for most to have a business facebook (etc.) account in addition to a website: you want people to be able to find you wherever they’re most likely to be looking. However, I disagree that pouring resources into producing multiple social media posts per day is a good choice for all businesses. This was probably implied, though – if you’re creating a social media team, then you must have enough resources to have and need a “team”! :-)

    In case they’re useful to anyone, here are my bottom-line rules for small/tiny businesses or nonprofits where social media is not the product (so, not where your business *is* a blog):
    1. content should be either timely or timeless (in March, your most recent post should not be “looking forward to Christmas!” – but for some businesses, it can be okay if it’s “See our website for more details on our products” for months on end).
    2. play to your strengths and abilities. Are you better at long-form prose or short, snappy one-liners? Do you have someone who can take good photos or manage haiku-of-the-week submissions?
    3. figure out the needs of your business and customers and recognize where they are or aren’t served by each medium. (how to start thinking about what is most useful to post is well covered in the article!)
    4. figure out what is realistic to spend on this and follow through on that; if it’s sensible to hire someone, great; if you can’t hire someone extra but your crew is up to one long-form post per month, that can work; if you can spend 30 minutes per day on this, that can work. But keep output steady as much as possible to avoid appearances of neglect or of business death; if you need to start posting less frequently, then make doubly sure that your most recent post is not time-sensitive and, preferably, post to explain the shift. Of course, even if you only post once per month, you want to keep on top of comments/replies like you would email or phone messages. Auto-notification features are very useful if replies are rare.
    5. don’t let yourself get sucked too far into the vortex; just because some is good does not mean more is better for all businesses, and the swirl of social media can slurp up time/energy that, for the health of your business, should be spent on *doing*. (says someone who is procrastinating by commenting on a biz ladies post on Design*Sponge when there is work to be done…)
    6. remember that what you post may be someone’s first interaction with your business; it’s okay to be casual, but keep things appropriate for your business or field. (this is covered by the social media guidelines section of this article)

    Finding someone external to evaluate your social media and website offerings is a great idea; for businesses that can afford to have a professional evaluate things, it can be *incredibly* useful to have that extra dose of experience and direction. For tiny-budget businesses, if hiring professional help is out of reach, it might be wise to ask a few friends to try to find your business online/on Facebook, and to tell you what they think of your website/profile/content and what they would find useful if they were a customer. This won’t get you as far as a professional evaluation, but may bring up the most glaring problems that might frustrate or alienate customers.

    I suppose: if you’re a small business that doesn’t have and can’t afford a social media team, that can still be okay. You just can’t use quite as much of the advice in this article. :-)

  • Thank you so much for all that information. I really needed it! I read your website to and subscribed to your news letter. Very inspirational!

  • I do social media for a tiny biz and it’s really not rocket science. You definitely have to put some thought into the game plan initially (target market, content planning), but then you can front end the whole thing by using scheduling software to have posts planned months in advance if you want.

    Front-ending takes off a lot of pressure, meaning it’s easier to give yourself permission to check in w/FB to reply to comments and post some spontaneous things -both of which can be done in 20 min a day or less- knowing you won’t get sucked in.

  • @ KC – Thanks for all you insight. I know resources can be tight and time is really important. Generally I tech clients to use a method I call Facebook in 5 minutes a day, just so they can focus more on their business.

    @ Wilma – Thank you so much.

    @ Juliette – Great tips. Thank you.

    @ Nia – There’s huge variance right now based on a lot of different factors. I am seeing a lot of clients just scoot paid media dollars into social. It is still a very small percent of annual budgets, generally less than 5%.

  • Wonderful post, I just want to say as I have a tiny business myself, I do hire a designer part time to off load some of the email marketing and designs work so I can do part of the social media. I find internet marketing can be exhausting, there is plenty of resource out there are tremendously helpful. I highly recommend this website called challenge.co It’s a free tutorial programme teaching you internet marketings and social media for like blog virgin like me. Hope that is helpful. I do agree that internet marketing is no longer a one man band, it’s a team sport. You can certainly outsource people from like freelancer alike.

  • I run a boutique social media management company, and work with a number of entertainment brands and companies as an outsourced member of the team, and I can definitely say that each client is different and this particular strategy could totally work for some organizations, but it’s definitely not a one size fits all approach. Assembling a team sounds like a convenient plan, since you’re pulling from people who you already employ, but there’s no guarantee there that they’ll really know what they’re doing. I would argue that just being “tech savvy” isn’t enough knowledge to really be able to formulate a great, effective social media strategy.

    Obviously, I have a business because there’s a need, but I’m not just saying this for the sake of self-promotion. I really believe that people who ONLY work in social media have a distinct advantage and experience level that you’re just not going to find in the average employee. Additionally, I would think that giving these types of added responsibilities to current employees would warrant some kind of payraise/title change to compensate them for their extra work and effort. My thinking is that it’s worth the money to either outsource it to people who know the ins and outs of social media, or go the extra mile and hire someone in-house if you’re really committed to making social media marketing a priority.

    I liked your social media guidelines and your suggestions for content! :)

    • Caitlin

      I see your point, but sadly ive seen some of the worst social media behavior carried out by “professional” social media agencies, too. So I think trusting your gut and finding someone right for you is the most important.


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