The title of this past Tuesday’s #SMTLive chat was “Collaboration Processes: Strategies for Managing Social Media Virtually.” We set out to learn how social media professionals are managing work efficiently in a remote-work environment. We got answers and more.
Social Media Marketing Team Structures and Content Collaborators
To start, we asked people to share what their social media teams look like (size and individual roles). Most people on the chat said they are a part of a one-person team or a small 2-3 person team.
Our next question was “Who do you regularly collaborate with to produce and manage social media content?” Everyone, regardless of team size, had a lot to share here.
The Classic In-House Team
We’ve got the classic in-house social media managers who collaborate with designers to build content.
A2 - thankfully we got the creator’s team to help us in creating the visual assets, while the social media team creates the copies and calendars. #SMTLive— Tarek Qaitoqa (@tareekwithakay) April 28, 2020
A2: We have a team that creates photo / video assets that are a great resource, and also working to align more closely with other channels (email, paid media, etc.). Corporate comms can be key in some situations as well. #smtlive— ee (@erininmilwaukee) April 28, 2020
Larger organizations usually have a myriad of people to report to and work with to build content every week.
A2: So many people! Our CMO, our graphic designer, our sales staff, our HR team. Chances are, someone has something they want to promote. You just have to discover what that is and figure out a strategy to promote it. #SMTLive— Lindsay Hottovy (@LHContent) April 28, 2020
To get content, I collaborate with almost every employee at our organization. I work with 1-3 other folks on the marketing team for visuals (video, photos, graphics) and we also have an outside graphic designer who creates illustrations and other graphics as needed. #SMTLive— Catherine Krummey ???????????????? (@ckrummey) April 28, 2020
Basically, if anyone at our org has anything they think would be good on our social media, they send it to me. It requires relationship building as most of our staff works remotely (even before COVID-19). It helps that we include storytelling in our onboarding process. #SMTLive— Catherine Krummey ???????????????? (@ckrummey) April 28, 2020
The Freelancer or Social Media Agency
And then there are all the outsourced social media managers — some are individual freelancers and some come as a larger team from an agency.
Working with clients adds an extra element of collaboration to the content creation process. Similar to an in-house team, the agency teams have people to report to inside their organization, and then times that (by two, three, four, etc.) by the number of clients you are working with.
A2a: #SMTLive— Click Control Marketing (@ClkContrl) April 28, 2020
For our own social content, we regularly collab with the rest of our team who mostly handle paid search & paid social campaigns.
For our client's social content, we provide consistent opportunities for both sides to communicate about design, copy, strategy, etc.
Client work involves managing and reporting to an even wider net of people. Everything from legal discussions, strategic planning and content review is a regular collaboration process between the social media marketer and each client.
A2: Depends on the client. Some smaller creative & approval teams & cycles. Others are large. Legal often included at early stages. We build brand & message architectures up front as requirement to streamline process & engagement #SMTLive— Pam Moore (@PamMktgNut) April 28, 2020
A2 - We often collaborate with our clients. This includes everything from setting social media campaign goals together to requesting that they send us images to post, especially right now since we can't responsibly make in-person visits to take photos ourselves! #SMTLive— Hydrate Marketing (@HydrateMktg) April 28, 2020
Weekly collaboration processes may look something like this:
A2.— Vraj at ???? (@vrajshahspeaks) April 28, 2020
1. Website study for content
2. Create Social Media calendar
3. Create Social Media posts with graphics
4. Create a sheet with content + visuals
5. Pass it to TL for approval and proofreading
6. Pass it to client
7. Make changes (if)
8. Approved then posting#SMTLive
Processes Change Due to Industry & Knowledge-Gaps
Every industry is unique and creating content for clients may bring up unique challenges. One of those challenges would be creating content for an international brand when you, as the content creator, don't speak the language fluently.
Because we deal with international clients and market in Japan, we're collaborating with clients, translators, copywriters, as well as any appropriate creators.— TAMKO | Japan-based Marketing Agency (@tamkoEN) April 28, 2020
Another challenge is the lack of industry knowledge. Connecting with people and learning from involved with the organization you're working for is key to creating content for their brand.
Whether you’re a freelancer collaborating with clients or an in-house social media marketer collaborating with designers and reporting to business executives, every person managing social media for a brand has a larger “team” of individuals they need to communicate with on a regular basis
Remote-Work and COVID-19 Challenges
After creating a clear picture of the similarities and differences of work-flows and content creation processes for social media marketers across various industries, we dove into the current situation: How has the current global health crisis and everyone working remote changed or affected your social media management processes?
Lucky for us, tech-savy digital marketers, most of us haven't experienced major changes to work processes. In fact, the majority of people participating in this chat said they were used to working from home.
A3 - Not really. Our #socialmedia team is mostly a virtual team with people located in many different countries and time zones. So we're used to online communication via chat tools or mail or social media tools. #SMTLive— Ruth #NowInside (@InnGritttt) April 28, 2020
For most marketers, the real challenge has not been remote work; instead, it's been challenges caused by quarantine and a global change in mindset and priorities.
Parents are having trouble working normal schedules with their children around 24/7.
A3: Yes - and - No.— Jennifer Baker | Social Media Trainer (@JenniferBakerCo) April 28, 2020
I am used to working alone, and now I "work" while entertaining a preschooler. Management work is done in the evenings and naptime (which is now). #smtlive
And occasionally, finding motivation can be a struggle when you're all alone.
A3: My process has stayed pretty similar, but the collaboration for cross-functional projects has shifted.— ee (@erininmilwaukee) April 28, 2020
Motivation, on the other hand... #smtlive
Content Marketing Challenges
Adjusting your marketing message and tone in any situation takes a lot of thought. Finding the right words to speak to your audience during a global-pandemic is a challenge.
A3: Not necessarily from working remotely, but during this pandemic, social media has been more difficult to plan. We have had to become more flexible and even more sensitive in the content we are providing since everything is changing on a day-to-day basis. #SMTLive— Lindsay Hottovy (@LHContent) April 28, 2020
And with everything changing by the hour, we're having to pivot plans! #SMTLive— Jessie Simms (@JSimmsSocial) April 28, 2020
Creating content for brands and industries that are temporarily closed is another one. Especially those accounts that post photos of their business or videos of community locations, it's difficult to find new content to post.
A3: It absolutely has made creating content harder, especially working for a restaurant group, as we are not at the restaurants able to snap a quick photo. We are having to really think outside the box for content ideas. #SMTLive— Jessie Simms (@JSimmsSocial) April 28, 2020
A1 - Definitely. Like we said, we can't go get images and shoot video for most clients. This situation requires a lot of virtual communication, both externally and internally. Just got off a two hour @zoom_us call during which we solely discussed social media! #SMTLive— Hydrate Marketing (@HydrateMktg) April 28, 2020
Social Media Collaboration Tools
Processes may not have changed much, but the tools we use to communicate, collaborate and get work done are more important than ever. Everything business process now operates online.
Here are a few social media tools our community cannot live without:
Content Creation & Management
- Canva for content creation.
- Adobe Creative Cloud for content creation.
- LaterMedia for content scheduling and management.
- Sprout Social for content scheduling and management.
- Hootsuite for content scheduling and management.
- Croudfire for content scheduling and management.
- SocialPilot for content scheduling and management.
- Airtable for content scheduling and management.
- MeetEdgar for content scheduling and management.
- Bitly for content tracking.
Collaborating With Your Team
- G Suite (Docs, Drive, etc.) for saving, sharing and collaborating on work.
- Dropbox for sharing and collaborating on work.
- Box for sharing and collaborating on work.
- Trello for task management.
- ActiveCollab for team collaboration and project management.
- monday.com for team collaboration and project management.
- Basecamp for team collaboration and project management.
- Asana for team collaboration and project management.
The Future of Social Media Marketing Processes
To end this chat, we asked everyone to share what they think the future looks like for social media marketers.
For the most part, people don't expect much to change. We already covered the reality that not many social media marketers have had to change their work processes under these circumstances. We are fortunate to already be well-versed in online-communication, and those who've had to learn these systems probably won't go back to previous methods.
A6 - People who live outside of the digital space (such as many of our clients) are starting to have a much better understanding about the value of communicating online. We think this understanding will be lasting and helpful over time. #SMTLive— Hydrate Marketing (@HydrateMktg) April 28, 2020
A6: I don't think much will change with social media marketers, I think we will continue to do things as we are now. As for those not in our realm, I believe they may adapt and keep these new online ways of thinking and working together. #SMTLive— Salt Rank (@saltrank) April 28, 2020
It's also possible that remote work becomes the new normal.
A6: I think that most teams will continue to work remote. #SMTlive— Michelle Thames Social Media Strategist (@naturalista1986) April 28, 2020
I agree! I also think in general, a lot of companies may keep some form of remote working. Whether it is giving people the option to work a few days from home or going completely remote.— Salt Rank (@saltrank) April 28, 2020
The bottom line here is that our community may face similar challenges to others during times likes this, but for the most part we are prepared to handle whatever is thrown at us.
If you're interested in being part of our next Twitter chat, you can learn more and RSVP here. And for all those of you who want to be a regular participant in these chats, sign up here to join our #SMTLive Tuesday Twitter Chat Club.