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A Simple Framework for Building Your Social Media Marketing Team

For years, marketing departments of all shapes and sizes have built teams of individuals charged with the task of reaching audiences. But the tasks of marketing have changed in recent years. To reference the Cluetrain Manifesto, the markets themselves have become conversations.

So the question is this: How do marketing teams need to change to listen to, respond to and use those conversations to create meaningful connections with customers?

A Case Study in Conversational Marketing

In Canton, Ohio, a conversational marketing firm called Incept (they are a client) has modified its marketing department to include a Human Business Team comprised of social media agents who actively participate in online conversations.

To help identify and select a team made up of individuals with the right skills, experience and passion for social media marketing, we used a combination of assessment tools including personality testing (MBTI), score-based multitasking games and one-on-one interviews to gauge technology aptitude.

This team is made up of four types of individuals, each having unique responsibilities, but also a bit of overlap in terms of skills.

Listening Analysts

Monitoring conversations around your brand and category keywords is critical to any social media marketing program. I suggest having at least one individual in your marketing team who is tasked with listening and who has a very solid understanding of the following:

  • Keyword strategies
  • Advanced Boolean search techniques
  • RSS
  • Various monitoring tools across social networks such as Hootsuite, SWIX or even Radian6
  • The functionality, organization and processes related to CRM and Social CRM (SCRM) applications
  • Internal processes and how information flows throughout their own organization
  • Various analytic platforms and how to interpret the data collected

Content Engineers

Solid content engineers are masters of content strategy and execution. Their role includes leadership in the production of written content as well as video, image sharing and podcasts. These individuals tend to be familiar with the following:

  • Video and audio production techniques including shooting, editing and distribution
  • Basic photography and lighting design
  • Postproduction applications like Photoshop or Gimp, iMovie or FinalCut, etc.
  • Knowledge of graphic design applications like InDesign
  • Interviewing techniques
  • Basic HTML and PHP
  • Production equipment and accessories

Conversational Marketing Agents

The industry, for lack of a better title, refers to conversationalists as “community managers.” But online communities are essentially large, ongoing conversations where control and management of the discussion are traded for participation and influence.

Conversational Marketing Agents stay focused on engagement across platforms. They frequently possess the following skills:

  • Understanding of the culture and context of different social networks and online communities
  • Understanding of the functionality and features of different social web tools
  • Ability to use and leverage information stored in SCRM tools
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills
  • Typically the strongest copywriters and editors

Team Captains

The captain coordinates the team and is responsible for the performance of the program. As such, he develops, tracks and reports on success metrics. Effective captains tend to possess the following:

  • Knowledge of and aptitude in all team roles
  • Project management skills
  • Problem-solving skills and the ability to think on their feet
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills
  • Leadership abilities
  • Analytical skills

Each of these teams is typically charged with a specific business objective. It could be anything from managing a collaborative blog to facilitating a customer community.

In the not-so-distant future, I believe that a large part of corporate marketing departments will be organized via a network model of multiple human business teams.

What about you? How is your social media marketing team organized?