This articles first appeared on MASHABLE.
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Building any kind of team is a challenge, but pulling together the people who are going to represent your company in the social media arena is a particularly tricky task.
What is the ultimate purpose of your social media team? Do you hire experts from outside the company or utilize existing employees? What do you look for in a social media executive?
We talked to professionals who have gone through the process — from big global businesses to small companies — to try and find some answers to these questions.
Have a read of their advice and let us know any useful experiences you’ve had in the comments below.
1. Set Clear Goals
Before you consider the question of who, you need to have already established the answer to why?
“Firstly, before you set up a team, you have to be clear who you want to talk to and engage with and what your internal goals are,” says Jakub Hrabovsky, head of web relations for Vodafone UK. “Is your main aim to entertain and engage, or are you considering using social media as a sales channel? You should be clear on what you want to measure. Engagement levels, buzz and sentiment or an increase in the number of sales — or perhaps both?”
Hrabovsky also points out that your social media team members will also need to be able to help customers — they may be the point of call that connected consumers head to. “If you’re a consumer-facing organization, you should include a customer care element to complement your social engagement team as well.”
2. Create a Social Media Policy First
Every company with a presence in the social space should have a social media policy, even if it’s just a few lines advising employees how you’d prefer they reference your brand online.
Creating a social media policy before you get a team in place will help you in deciding who to employ to implement it.
“Be sure you have a social media policy in place, so that your team is clear on how the company wishes to be portrayed in the space. A social media policy should be available to all staff too,” advises Dave Delaney, marketing specialist, online communications and promotions at Griffin Technology.
“You should first consider how you want your brand represented. Your social media team is going to be speaking for your brand, so it’s important that they are able to communicate in a way that shows the personality of your company,” says Kristen Studard, social media coordinator at Threadless.
“At Threadless we’re a very friendly laid-back company and we’re very excited about our products, which is why we use so many exclamation points in our tweets and status updates.”
If you are going down the friendly, excited, exclamation points route with your social media policy, then be sure to hire people who will find it easy to express themselves that way; if you’re aiming for a more staid, professional approach, then don’t pick someone who can’t pen a line without adding a smiley at the end.