Tag Archives: SMD102

Building a Social Media Team

Every company, non-profit organization or government agency will want to best utilize its social media investment. In a hypothetical case, wherein each sector builds a team of five members, each will place a higher value on the roles they create, though there are similarities among them.

Shared among all three sectors are the roles of “Social Media Strategist” and “Community Manager.”  The SoMe Strategist is essentially the manager or leader of the entire division or department; he or she is the highest ranking staff member who oversees the work, designs the overall strategy, and reinforces the organization’s commitment to the value of social media.  The Community Manager is the single point of contact between the brand and the audience/community.

Shared between Companies and Governments is the “Social Analyst,” a role that emphasizes listening to online conversations regarding a brand or legislation/constituent issues.  To be clear, this role is important to non-profits as well but, in this scenario where team membership is limited to five, there are five roles of greater importance to a non-profit.

Shared between Non-profits and Governments is the “Social Media Manager,” an operations-oriented role that oversees every element of the various projects the team is engaged in.  He or she will manage the resourcing of manpower, time-limited targets, financial resources, and the relationship between the entity and social media partners, agencies for example.

Shared between Companies and Non-profits are “Agency Partners,” which are third parties deployed by the company or non-profit to oversee roles that each deems itself incapable of completing internally.

Uniquely valued by Companies is the “Business Unit Liaison,” a relationship-builder internally who works to bridge departments in realizing social media goals across the organization.  Uniquely valued by Non-profits is the “Content Strategist,” a role that is becoming more and more necessary across all sectors; he or she works to develop and align content for the multiple audiences/communities where the non-profit participates.  Uniquely valued by Governments is the “Education Manager,” a role that is similar to the Business Unit Liaison in that he or she works internally as a promoter of social media as a communication tool.

Social Media Content Strategies: What to say and how to say it

Though they all share the social web, companies, governments and non-profits have different purposes with regard to the messages they want to transmit. Each sector needs to take the time to comprehend not only what it is they want to say, but the best way to go about saying it.

For-profit companies want to build trust especially.  We live in a world where the consumer has become immune to hard sales and can quickly eliminate your channel from their newsfeeds, so the work for companies is to provide helpful information about the industry, details that make the lives of their target audience better, and then, rarely, make the pitch for their organization’s service or product.  They want their followers to be convinced of their product when the time comes to choose it.

Governments are more concerned with getting the word out about their programs or public notices, or at the very least ensuring it’s available.  It may be helpful to build community, as we’ve seen with the Health Canada presences on Facebook, but ultimately the goal is to provide access to information and, like any marketer, to get into the homes of your target audience so they don’t have to work so hard to find you.  If you’re an MP or MPP or even a town councilor, you want to avail yourself to your constituents, and bring your experience as an elected official into the constituent perspective so they can see that their vote was a wise one.

Non-profits, like companies, have an interest in building relationships that don’t necessarily lead directly to their preferred “engagement,” be it a donation or other form of support.  Non-profits play more a role in the education of the masses as it regards their work: why it’s necessary, providing updates on the specific projects they’re working on, how they evaluate their work, evidence that their followers’ contributions are being put to good use.  It serves both an accountability and promotion function.  Like companies, it’s not so much the “ask,” but the shift over time that should happen to the audience, based on the content they’ve received.

Though there are difference among each sector, they each should understand that the primary goal when working in social media is to build and maintain a community, to build trust and a relationship with those who acknowledge and want to engage with their brand or cause.

Identifying a Social Media Audience

Fig. 1

It’s like a series of nested bowls, identifying and engaging a social media audience.  A foundational benefit in utilizing the social web is the access you have to your audience outside traditional channels; whereas previously they came to you on their terms and timelines, with social media we can conceivably engage our audience at every step as we build and maintain a relationship with them, progressing them, nudging them toward our product, service, or message.

From a macro perspective, the first step is to target the right audience for your social campaign.  Bear in mind cultural differences within your audience that may include linguistics and social mores locally and globally.  As well, the use of social platforms may vary and, keeping a focus on that audience, your choice of social platform will vary.

Once these decisions are made, the next step (or bowl) is to think of your audience as many individuals and identify the roles they adopt when they engage your organization.  If you’re selling B2B, for example, you’ll likely be targeting your audience on a personal level – meaning: you’re trying to reach “individuals” – yet it won’t be so personal that it confuses your receiver regarding your B2B relationship.

The next step is to identify the influencers within your audience and find ways to get them to act on your organization’s behalf.   The goal here is to assist them as they build and maintain trust with their audience, providing the tools for them to become evangelists for your brand/organization.

These three consistent and core variables should be considered when defining the audiences for any sector: government, non-profit or private organization.


Works Cited

Divol, Roxane and David Edelman and Hugo Sarrazin. “Demystifying Social Media.” McKinsey.com. McKinsey & Company. April 2012. Web. 17 October 2013.

Fig. 1. Magnifying glass from: Thomas, Jon. “Social Media Strategy Step 1: Find Your Audience.” postadvertising.com. 19 March 2013. Web. 17 October 2013.

Hussain, Sajji. “Social Media in Government: Information Dissemination.” blog.hootsuite.com. Hootsuite Media Incorporated. 3 May 2013. Web. 17 October 2013.

Jennex, Kelly. “Who Is Your Social Media Audience?  Really, Who Is It?” InNetwork.net. 14 February 2013. Web. 17 October 2013.

3 Universal Priorities in Developing Social Media Strategy

key social media strategy differentiators 2

On the social web, some things are universal: your brand should listen online for conversations that are relevant to you and your industry; you should share, engage and build community among your stakeholders, and; you should ultimately promote your product or service to your community.  As an organization develops its social media strategy, it will inevitably prioritize these “universals” and very likely these priorities will be influenced by the type of business in which the organization operates.

The above graphic highlights the first priority for each sector and identifies their shared secondary priorities.  Note that all three sectors utilize all three priorities.

The objective of a corporation is revenue, so its first priority is to promote its product or service. It will share a secondary interest in listening to online comments, questions, and conversations with non-profits, and with governments the sharing of information and building community among its stakeholders.

For a government agency, its first interest will be to listen for conversations around legislative or constituent interests.  It will share a secondary interest in promoting a product or service with non-profits, and with corporations the sharing of information and building community.

Non-profits will want to share information, and build community among its stakeholders, above the other two priorities.  It will share a secondary interest in listening to online conversations regarding its brand with corporations, and with governments the promotion of its product or service.


Works Cited

Askanase, Debra. “Moving From Stakeholder to Network Weaver.” www.communityorganizer20.com. N.p. 13 September 2013. Web. 13 October 2013.

Coates, Genevieve.Social Media Strategies for Government Organizations. San Francisco: Radian6 Technologies, 2012. www.salesforcemarketingcloud.com. Web. 13 October 2013.

Marketing Savant.Social Media Strategy Workbook: The 12-Step Guide to Creating Your Social Media Strategy. No City: Marketing Savant. N.d. Web.