Article written and published at AgoraPulse- leaders in social media management tools.
Whether you’re a social media agency or a brand, there’s no doubt about one thing– coordinating multiple team members to work on a social media account is challenging. And when I say challenging, I mean hugely stressful. As the creative director at Contentworks, I’ve experienced the struggles first hand, so in this article, I’m going to show you how your team can ace social media collaboration.
Large social media accounts will require more than one team member to work on them. You may be working on the account in shifts or simultaneously. Having multiple team members working on the same account can be fraught with problems which can damage, or even sink, the brand. Here’s just a few of them:
- Tone Inconsistency: Different personalities posting and replying in different ways
- Failure to Collaborate: Duplication or delays in replying, posting, approving
- Organization Chaos: Delays in finding brand assets like images, GIFs, and passwords
- Poor Reporting: You’re doing the work, but nobody is gathering information
Notice a common thread in all these problems? The main problem is communication.
1. Tone Inconsistency
Managing social media in a complex organization isn’t easy. There are multiple departments, leaders, and policies, all of which can lead to confusion. Having different employees answering and posting differently on the same account can also reflect badly on the brand. Perhaps John answers in a formal way while Sarah is playful and fun. The tone of each person’s posts will reflect the brand, influence the customer experience, and affect the outcome.
Your brand needs a clear set of guidelines that manage tone, spelling, style, and brand personality. I’m not talking about a huge PowerPoint presentation. I’m talking about a basic one-page doc that acts as a referral point for staff. The document should include basics like:
- The tagline
- The brand voice
- UK or US spelling
- Hex color codes
- The company values
- The customer demographics
Before new staff members begin working on a social media account, be sure that they understand the brand and how to effectively represent it as a team. You can also create saved replies using the Agorapulse dashboard. That means that employees can choose from a list of pre-approved and on brand answers saving time and maintaining consistency.
2. Failure To Collaborate
Failure to effectively collaborate as a team can cause numerous problems. It may mean duplicate replies to the same message or a failure to reply at all. It may also mean too many posts being published or none at all. Worse still, it could cause you to contradict yourself and confuse page fans.
Remember not all social media teams are based in the same physical working space. In my case, I have a team in China and Europe so I can’t just walk into the office and make an announcement. Different time zones, different departments, and different perceptions of what needs to be done can cause huge confusion.
Sending out emails to your colleagues for every action is not a viable solution. The answer is a social media dashboard where team members are assigned different actions and roles. Look at this screenshot from the Agorapulse platform. Here you can assign one of four roles to each user with varying levels of posting, replying, and reporting access.
So immediately you have some clarity over who is authorised to take actions on the social media accounts. Next, you have the option to schedule, queue, and assign actions to others on the team. For example, my junior copywriter may assign a post to me for approval before it goes live. Cool right?
Even better, the panel also shows when someone else is replying to a fan, so you never suffer from embarrassing duplication! I find this system particularly useful for financial services accounts which may have high standards of compliance and legal. Checking that posts are compliant before they go live is super important in this sector. Learn more about team workflow.
3. Organization Chaos
Social media marketing is fast-paced, and this can prompt a lot of corner cutting in a large social media team. I will give you an example of some actual events that occurred (names changed because I love my team!):
- Sarah spends $50 on Facebook and forgets to update the client’s budget sheet
- Todd receives images from the graphic designer and saves them on his desktop pc
- Charli (yes me, I’m also guilty) speaks to a client about a new idea and forgets to tell the team
These actions are all totally normal for a large social media team, yet they can cause untold chaos. You must be organized with your social media collaboration from day one. Every time and for every social media account.
Having client files on Dropbox and assigning relevant team members is one way to ensure everything is stored in one place. Your team must be briefed to store assets properly, update budget sheets, and add new ideas into a communal notepad. Alternatively, you could also try one of the popular team collaboration tools below (screenshot taken from Trello):
Trello: I love Trello for keeping track of campaigns and ideas, assigning users, and ticking items off as “completed”. The key to good social media collaboration here is to avoid lengthy essays and keep ideas as bullet points or short notes.
Basecamp: Basecamp is a sweet little tool to use for updating the team without getting caught up in lengthy email chains.
Workstack: This is a tool that works directly with Basecamp, so you can see the hours and days your team allows for Basecamp projects. With several people working on one account, tracking where the hours go can eliminate waste and maximise team efficiency.
4. Poor Reporting
Social media collaboration is great until it comes down to the reporting. A social media report should be produced at the end of each month whether you’re an agency working for a client or a team reporting to your director.
A report should clearly identify actions taken, money spent, KPIs hit or missed, and next actions. So, what’s the problem? The problem is that with multiple people working on the same accounts, how do you get together every month to create a report? One thing’s for sure– if you are not clearly reporting your actions to the brand owner, they won’t be happy.
All you need to produce every month are two documents– your social media report and your budget sheet. First, you should create a running budget sheet for each social media account. That means each time a team member adds a spend figure, the total is recalculated (Google Drive is good for this).
Be sure to write a spending limit in the sheet so your team knows the boundaries and make sure that everyone is doing this as it happens. You might forget the odd $10 here and $20 there but it all adds up! Secondly, head into your Agorapulse dashboard and pull off a report for your social media accounts. It’s so easy and looks professional.
Because the report is generated as a PPT, you can simply add a cover page showing key stats, budget spend, and leads, and you’re good to go.
Because your team is using Agorapulse, there’s no need to go into each channel or ask members to put together tricky reports– it’s all done for you! When you produce the report, be sure to share it with the team and highlight success areas or weak points to work on. Remember, communication is key!
More Tips for Social Media Collaboration
Time Zones: Make sure you are utilizing your team to cover different time zones on large accounts. Posting 8-5 really won’t do for big brands. Similarly, different language posting needs to be targeted and clearly communicated to others.
Editorial Calendar: Encourage your team to check and update your editorial calendar and schedule posts in your Agorapulse dashboard.
Hold Meetings: Yes it sounds old school, but a regular update meeting is important from time to time. Patch in your overseas team on Skype and be sure everyone has coffee and donuts!
Encourage Feedback: If you’re leading a team, you may not be aware of the administration problems going on elsewhere. Encourage feedback, ideas, and problem sharing within your team.
Holiday Cover: Do you have a process in place for holidays and sick leave? Don’t just expect the rest of the team to know what to do if a key member is away.
Social media collaboration can be a fun experience if you get the basics right. Is your social media team playing nicely together? Tweet us and let us know.