Putting Together a Social Media Team

The Customer Service People - No one realizes it, but the customer service people simply have to be the heart of your social media team. If your social media plan involves listening and reacting to the customer (and it better!), then not having customer service people on your social media team is a waste of both your team's goals and your customer service goals as a whole. he customer service team is more than likely the most integral part of your company.

They're the first line of attack and defense when it comes to customer communication. 

They know more about the customer in one day than most of your company knows in a month. Does one of your products have a specific problem? They know before anyone. Is a node down in Portsmouth,

New Hampshire? They know before your IT people do. Did an agent bump a customer off a plane in Casper, Wyoming without cause?

They're going to hear about it first. Even more importantly, they're going to know the right way to react. Remember-it's all they do. 

By putting one or more customer service people on your social media team, you're ensuring social media will do what it's intended to do: help you communicate better with your audience. Remember this: Tech people are tech people for a reason.

They love to communicate with inanimate objects. The same goes for marketers. They love to communicate with ads, rate cards, and job bags. 

Ad guys? They love to communicate with logos. Customer service people communicate with the customers. Make sure they're part of your social media team. Being able to communicate with your customers should always, always, always be the first rule of your social media strategy. 

The PR Person
The PR person almost always gets asked to be a part of the social media team. I  don't know exactly how PR got thrown into the mix in the first place. It's probably  because the first people to play with social media were PR people who thought of it  as a new way to reach journalists.

The PR person is actually a useful mammal to have on the team since the PR person  is the one who actually helps craft the company message. They make sure the  company stays on point and isn't giving two or three different messages each time  they say something. Imagine if you have five people listening and responding on  Twitter.

This can result in two different people getting two different answers to the  same question. Yikes! So listen to the PR person, no doubt. Another nice bonus is  that the PR people usually get the best invites to corporate events and parties, so it's  good to be their friend.

The High-Level Exec
Ah, the high-level exec. This person is always a bit hard to get a read on. On one  hand, she knows that a good social media plan can catapult you into the stratosphere.

If you're lucky, this person understands the benefits of a social media plan,  trusts you enough to let you run it, and generally will run interference between you  and the higher-ups who constantly use the phrase "that team with their Twitter and  stuff. "

If that's the case, you're good to go. Let the exec help you clear the oodles of  red tape by keeping her in the loop. Use a system I came up with years ago called  ROAR (Responsibility, Opportunity, Awareness, Results):
  • Responsibility-You've proven that you can take charge of the situation  and, without question, produce a stellar social media plan for your  entire organization.
  • Opportunity-You've done your homework and can show why a good  social media plan is critical to your company's success.
  • Awareness-You've shown that you're familiar with the potential pitfalls  of social media; you're making sure that your company's roadmap  has ways around them; and you have multiple backup plans not only  for a potential crisis, but for success, as well.
  • Results-Finally, after all is said and done, you need to be able to show  your high-level exec what you've done, both from a 10-foot view and a  50,000-foot view, so she can run it up the flagpole, giving you clearance  for your next big idea.

By following the ROAR system, you're guaranteeing that you'll keep your high-level  exec on your side-something you're going to desperately need when you're trying  to convince the bean counters why they should send you to the hottest social media  show or let you purchase that new Flip Mino HD Camera.

The Marketing Guys

The marketing guys aren't the same guys as the PR guys. Marketing thinks of PR as an afterthought and primarily focuses on advertising-getting the "brand message"  out there and, to a degree, advertising, logos, and so on.

Work with these guys to  make sure the social media team is on point in terms of how the logo of the company  looks, that the social media backgrounds are similar to that of the company  logo (but with a little more flair), and that key messaging statements are the same.

Another good thing about marketing is that they usually have access to the best  SWAG (stuff we all get). These t-shirts, hats, free memberships to things, and so on  are great prizes when you're offering giveaways on your site and the like.

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