One of the other key conclusions that came from our video series on social media on YouTube called Social Revelations was how vast the subject of social media expertise really is. We were able to clearly show that the statistics just don't support the idea that one individual is going to have all the expertise a company will need to be able to get the right and most effective social media strategy designed and implemented for their business.
If you haven't seen it yet, you definitely want to – there are more than 8 hours of videos on YouTube that will blow up anything you thought you knew about social media before. The conclusions are pretty clear – most businesses are not staying on top of traffic, demographics, sharing probabilities, and subject congruency, so their social media results really look a lot like a random selection of swimmers and non-swimmers from the general public ranging in ability from the most-likely-to-drown, to the dog-paddlers, to the Lotke's and Phelps' of the world.
The range of subjects and depth of expertise needed to run a successful social media management office is substantial and the blend of integrations creates levels of complexity unlike any prior form of marketing in history. To help you and your business unravel this mix and build the right blend that works for your business, we have created a Social Media Expert Checklist so you can identify the areas of expertise you really need.
Content Creation: Writers. These people know your business and know how to write content that meets your company's communication needs in a socially engaging way. These are your company bloggers, the writers of your articles, Facebook wall posts, and all of your social copy. The style, voice and approach is distinct from copywriting for sales or advertising, and they are fully versed in professional social copywriting.
Content Creation: Video. These are experts at creating web-videos that communicate your message in key formats- the 15-20 second 'Tout', the 30-45 second 'update', the 2 minute presentation, and the long format video. They know the difference between creating something socially engaging for web sharing, and something for a major motion picture or a high-school student project, and they produce quality content for the right one.
Content Creation: Graphics. From pictures to infographics, stats come back again and again that more shares are done for pictures and infographics than for anything else on the web. Someone who can provide a constant supply of original graphics that get attention is mission critical for the modern business both for traffic generation but also for customer engagement.
Single Platform Experts. Once you have identified which major platforms are key to your social media campaigns, having a pro that has a deep-dive expertise and a deep base of connections on those platforms is invaluable for promoting your business. These are the people that specialize in one or two social networks and are the experts that others turn to when they need to know if a virulent social post is spam, a virus, a phishing attempt or legit. These are the people who know the ins and outs of the platform, including what software integrates the platform with your other business software tools to maximize your productivity with the platform. They know the key movers and shakers on the platform for your industry so they can help your team get the best connections possible. These are your platform-specific pros.
Multi-Platform Integration and Automation Expert: Just about every platform or social network out there integrates with other social tools. Some offer automation advantages in distribution, analytics, CRM, collaboration, sales intelligence, bandwidth, social sharing, scheduling, or a nearly infinite array of other advantages that can either save you time, money and effort or can make you more money based on how each of your primary social platforms are integrated with the latest network social tools. These tools are constantly changing, updating, modifying what they connect with and how they work, so a person who is a single platform specialist may not know enough about what is available and how it is able to help you - you will need someone who is a multi-platform integration and automation specialist to offer you the depth of expertise that can literally save you millions.
Engagement Strategist: These are professionals at making sure that your network engages, participates, likes, subscribes, comments and shares. These specialists have a knack for instigating discussions, identifying or creating strategically key content that gets people talking. They know what formats (graphics, video, text, links, etc) are trending to get more engagement activity, and they know what content is trending that could be relevant to boosting engagement for your social brand and discussions. They also know how to keep the conversation on topic and how to extend conversations into ongoing engagement in other related marketing efforts.
Contests and Promotions Specialist: Radio stations have been doing this for decades – they know the model exceptionally well. What they typically don't do so well thought is to translate that into successful campaigns online. Whether it is because they have a very regional market and are trying too hard to raise social profiles on incompatible networks, a REAL social contest and promotions specialist would be better suited to tell you than I. Either way, the true online contests and promotions specialists know how, where, what kind and when to run promotions and contests to get the most bang for your promotional bucks.
Community Managers: These people run your social communities – your company sponsored social networks, forums, blog comment feeds, chat networks, and more. They know what the communities they run will support and what will make them rebel. They are a lot more important to your social engagement strategy because they are your front line workers who truly manage your image on your social communities. They are also responsible for keeping your communities interesting, engaging and sticky so people keep coming back and spending more time on your sites.
Online Advertising Specialist: More than just driving traffic to your website, there now is a special focus for those who create and manage advertising to build followers, subscribers, event and webinar attendance, and other related social networks. They drive traffic to squeeze pages, social networks, company websites and micro sites, online videos, and other key social objectives. They know where the best deals are for online ads, they know what the trends are in successful online ads right now, and they know how to monitor and manage the campaigns professionally to maximize results. They also know their way around DoubleClick and Omniture, and they know what impacts they have both on your revenues, your costs, and your websites.
Web Developers: Since more than ¾ of all CMOs believe that the number one use for social media is to drive traffic to your company website, making sure your company website is able to capitalize on all that traffic is the realm of your website developers. They usually develop your squeeze pages and other web properties, so they have a lot of important skills, expertise and advice to offer.
Search Engine Optimization/Marketing Specialists: Ok, so SEO is changing dramatically, but a lot of the impact good SEO provides in regular search listings will translate well into mission critical applications of key words, tags, and other handles that are used by search engines not just for your website but for all of your social network properties too, including your blogs, your Linkedin profiles, your Facebook pages, and more. These skills become infinitely more critical in the new era of search when social networks like Yelp, Foursquare and other local engagement communities contribute highly valuable content for search rankings and corresponding web and mobile traffic from smartphones and tablets.
Mobile Marketing: Clearly as more and more social media participation moves to mobile technologies, having someone who is an expert in mobile marketing, mobile-ready web properties, etc. becomes increasingly important.
App Developers: Applications that can either provide extensive new functionality for your web properties that draw more and longer follower engagement or that can help you track and follow up with your followers and subscribers is becoming more and more critical every day. Most app developers are stuck doing pedantic marketing apps but there are lots of much more important and useful apps to be developed and used – apps like social integration tools that allow coordination between each of your social networks and your CRM or your VMS (vendor management system).
Customer Service: More than 60% of all people who like or follow a company's social media account expect to be able to get customer service directly through the social network. Your customer service team has to get up to speed on social customer service application technology and your company has to be able to integrate your social customer service with your social marketing.
CRM: Your Customer Relationship Management is now more than just a database – these things integrate with your sales automation, your sales forecasting, your inventory management, your raw materials inventory, your scheduling, and now your social networks. These tools create huge efficiencies in marketing, sales, and production and need solid representation at the table with your social marketing team.
E-Commerce: Just like your website is the targeted recipient of most of your social traffic, your e-commerce specialists are critical to your consumer experience and to your revenue generation from your website. They also can install e-commerce applications across a variety of other web properties including blogs and social networks. They are the masters of integrating your e-commerce platform with your inventory management system, your pricing database, set up your discounts, coupons, etc. and more
F-Commerce: F-Commerce is selling directly on FaceBook and there are now specialists who are at the cutting edge of commerce applications for use on Facebook.
Social Media Distribution: There are hundreds of tools that distribute your social updates, and each has distinct advantages and disadvantages. Your distribution expert will be the one who will know how to leverage your automation tools to achieve the greatest time and cost savings while getting your message out to not just one or two sites effectively, but to potentially hundreds of sites and propagate your message across platforms and into niches that can leverage your marketing in ways people who are not distribution experts just can't envision.
Recruiting: The era of the traditional resume or CV is rapidly disappearing, as are the traditional jobs that went with them. Online hiring portals, social media recruitment campaigns, LinkedIn/Glassdoor/BranchOut and other social network mining, and brand ambassadors are all being recruited now through corporate social networks. How a company recruits also says a lot to its customers about how the company will treat them, so your recruiting team needs to be fully integrated into this process too.
Sales: Your sales department needs to be involved from the ground up when it comes to your social media. They are only one part of the process, but they are the purpose behind it all, so if they are not on board and integrated both with web-based sales and lead generation pipelining, then what you end up with is a bloated database full of irritable prospects who aren't getting the attention they need to move them along the pipeline and into the win column. The difference here is that a social sales specialist understands that social selling is extremely different from traditional sales. It comes with a focus on relationship building and engagement progression that Spin Selling and BASHO sales processes typically cannot handle. Do you have a Social Selling specialist that's right for this job?
GeoTargeted Marketing: Do you have someone on your team that really understands how to generate leads, followers, subscribers, and engagement through geotargeted marketing tools like FourSquare, daily deal sites, zip code-targeted offers, meetup groups, and review sites? This is a very involved specialty with extremely deep analytics, a specialization in offer design and offer management, an understanding of offer trends and cross-promotional opportunities, and a knowledge of how to use a wide range of geotargeted marketing tools to achieve a variety of complex marketing objectives.
Brand Management: Your logo, corporate identity, corporate social media policy standards, company graphics, and branding materials all need to be monitored, scrutinized and optimized for effectiveness in a social environment, and in a way that works with your web, e-commerce, and other media. All of your communications need to meet your brand standards because your brand is going to be measured by the standards you maintain, not by the standards you never got around to implementing.
Webinars: There are specialists who give webinar presentations, those who know how to drive attendance to them, those who know how to monetize them, those who know how to distribute the replays, and those who know how to optimize the experience for viewers on a technical basis. We've all seen bad webinars and we all know how much they left us wanting more (not at all, right?) The difference between a professional in one of these positions on your webinar teams and a bad amateur is massive both in terms of response and in terms of financial reward.
Loyalty Management: This is a mission critical component of many different marketing efforts, but which also has unique levels of expertise and integration when it comes to social platforms and social marketing. For instance, stats show that businesses that offer daily deals a minimum of 7 times over a period of as many months are far more successful at generating return business from new customers. A properly implemented loyalty program from the start that integrates to the business' primary loyalty program can make all the difference in whether you are successful at generating new repeat customers from a social offer or not. It also forms the basis for rewarding your social followers for moving along the engagement funnel and closer to becoming customers.
Social Security: In view of the downing of the GoDaddy DNS networks, the security of your social infrastructure is clearly one of the single most important responsibilitiess of your social marketing efforts. Meeting your obligations for financial or other regulatory compliance, any privacy concerns, any consumer accounts, your corporate data security... it's all directly integrated to your social marketing initiatives. Most security pros worry as much about breaches through social networking activity from within as they do from targeted attacks from outside.
Online Collaboration Specialist: Many new social platforms, apps, and SaaS offerings exist to integrate both internal and crowd-based social collaboration in marketing, product development, customer service and project management. These tools and communities need specialized professionals to manage and coordinate operations and community interaction by extending functionality to match the needs of the communities or platforms. This can provide your company with a globally integrated product development or marketing platform allowing your business to effectively work around the clock, and around the world, with full revisioning, project management, risk management, and operational efficiency gains that typically range near the 40% mark. These tools also include your online file storage and distribution, bandwidth management, international sales coordination and more.
Traffic Generation: There are a lot more ways to generate traffic and there is a lot more information needed to be an expert in traffic generation than just SEO/SEM, advertising, and social media. Keeping tabs on traffic generation trends in general, within the industry, and within the activities of the company itself provides highly valuable insights into what works and what doesn't work for building larger and larger volumes of prospects to look at your web and social properties. One of the examples of the tools that traffic generation specialists have up their sleeves is accessing all the tools for syndicating your content, but that really is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Public Relations: Your PR team needs to not only know about all the new ways to get your articles and press releases out to the public through web-based and social tools, they also need to be active in generating social traffic through online radio, webTV, e-zines, guest blogs and more. Is your PR person connected to both traditional and online media sources? Can they help you launch your own radio network online?
Analytics: Social Media Analytics specialists are increasingly more in demand as companies start to understand their value better. These analysts who research and analyze social media trends and patterns use a variety of tools that track both quantitative and qualitative metrics with basically one purpose in mind: figuring out how your social media efforts are actually performing in comparison to everyone else. It gives you insights into how your customers and opponents feel about you, your brands, your products, and your staff, and compare that data against industry, regional, national, and international data.
Network Strategist: This is the specialist who knows how all these things work together. They are not specialists in any one platform or technology, but they know how to make your social strategies the most effective and powerful that they can be. They tend to have strengths in a few areas and combine it well with a high learning curve, very strong project management and project planning skills, and extensive experience and education in marketing and advertising.
Integrated Marketing Specialists: The fact that you have a social marketing strategy should never mean that it is concocted and operated in isolation from the rest of your marketing. You need people who know the role social marketing is supposed to play as part of your overall marketing and business objectives and know how to effectively build reflexive traffic and impressions in a coordinated manner. These people will know social, they'll know radio, TV, magazines, print and packaging design, promotional products, event marketing, web design, web advertising, PR and more.
Training: people who understand social media and are able to replicate that expertise across your workforce are every bit as important as those who are implementing and designing your social strategy because they help you multiply the effectiveness of your efforts across your entire organic organization.
These, by no means, are all of the areas of specialization in social media, but it sure gives you a great idea why anyone who says they are a social media expert may be right, but may not be the important piece you need for your business specifically.
How well does YOUR business have these areas covered in terms of your social marketing strategy?