How organizations structure social media teams and how to do better

Christopher Barger
Christopher Barger

Nearly a year ago, Christopher Barger, author of ‘The Social Media Strategist‘ visited us for a social business workshop, focusing on the internal social media processes and the social media team. But looking at some recent research (infographic below), there is a lot to improve…

In last year’s social business workshop, Christopher provided insights, based on his long real-life experience to get a social media team up and running and, more importantly, how to make sure the whole company is involved.

A few key takeaways from the social media team and process perspective:

  • Make sure your goals are clear and you have consensus and buy-in.
  • Don’t start without established ways to measure the impact and return of your social media program, in correlation with the goals and identified needs among your target groups.
  • Discussions about the lead of the social media team are futile. It all depends (although Christopher, given his PR background and expertise, had a slight personal preference for PR).
  • Make sure you have an executive champion who works very closely with the social media team.
  • Have a social media evangelist in your social media team (or more). And make sure you get the expertise shared across the company.
  • The ‘team’ in social media team spells t-e-a-m. There is no room for egos or inappropriate guruism.

The social media team in real life

Of course there is a difference between theory and practice. So what are companies doing when it boils down to their social media team in reality? How do they structure the social media team? Do they have enough people and resources?

Ragan.com and NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions conducted a survey of more than what they call ‘social media pros’, providing some insights for organizations that want to benchmark their social media program and social media teams (warning: be careful with benchmarks as the data set, geography, industry, functions, etc. all are important elements to take into account). Go-Gulf turned some of the findings in an infographic (see below).

Data regarding the organization of the social media team

Based upon the infographic and mentioned survey here are some takeaways:

  • Only 27% of business have a dedicated social media team in place.
  • 65% of employees get social media tasks on top of their current job.
  • 5% of respondents have a mix of an internal and external social media team and 3% outsources everything.
  • 78% of respondents have no plans to hire more people for social media activities, which is not very promising.
  • When organizations seek people, the preferred level of experience is 1-3 years (47%). 25% uses interns.

Your social media team is crucial for your social business goals

What to look for in a social media team
What to look for in a social media team – Christopher Barger at our event

So, maybe it’s not really a surprise either that 27% is “not satisfied at all” with their social media campaigns. However, the most terrifying result from the survey, according to us, is the way respondents measure social media success: 86% of ‘social media pros’ just looks at the numbers of followers or likes to gauge social media success!

It seems that bad measurement practices and social media team challenges are standing in the way of success, together with an often missing lack of clear goals.

Obviously, if organizations don’t invest in people or teams, it’s logical that major roadblocks are:

  • A lack of time (65%).
  • A lack of manpower (63%).

Time to reconsider the strategy… But one thing is sure: your social media team is crucial.

More data on the social media team organization, social media campaign goals/satisfaction and the types of ‘social media profiles’ businesses look for in the infographic below. Also check out Christopher’s presentation.

As always, take into account that this is an infographic based on a survey and that social media is about more than campaigns. Regardless of the numbers, the question is: what will you do?

How Organizations Structure Social Media Teams
How Organizations Structure Social Media Teams