How to Change-Proof your Social Media Team
They say the only constant is change, and while I don’t know who “they” are, I’d have to agree. This is especially true in social media. There’s no denying social is moving fast. It’s connecting the world in ways unimaginable even a decade ago. Just look at Facebook, which officially hit 2 billion users—more than 25 percent of the global population—worldwide. Social is spearheading innovation on so many fronts: the importance of video and mobile-first marketing, virtual reality, augmented reality, and so much more. It’s incredibly impressive how fast the space is changing the way people interact both with each other and with brands.
However, that being said, it’s not the social networks’ innovations and changes that stand out to me. It’s the business changes. Social has evolved into a crucial (I would argue the most crucial) part of any savvy marketing organization. It’s ripe with opportunity. We’re seeing social drive real business results across enterprises, but that comes at a cost.
At Spredfast, we’ve been in the business of social for a long time. We’ve seen the space grow and change over time, and we’ve seen that as social has become indispensable in terms of business value, social teams are becoming more and more vulnerable to the business challenges that we see come with this level of maturity in enterprise organizations. We work with some of the biggest enterprises in the world across a lot of different industries, and that puts us in a unique position to notice trends across customers.
For us, the trend we’re seeing is around the real business challenges that stem from change. And while change isn’t bad, to be successful in social you have to be prepared for it. You have to be change-proof.
We’ve had a front-row seat to the challenges that enterprise social teams are facing around change across industries, and here’s what we’ve learned:
Learning 1) Your teams are going to change.
Team turnover is a reality in any part of any business. What makes it uniquely hard within social is that social doesn’t stop. Social doesn’t care that you’ve just absorbed a new brand into your umbrella portfolio. It doesn’t care that your social care team has almost completely turned over in the last year. Your social channels aren’t going to go on pause to wait for your new team members to get up-to-speed when you hire somebody new. Social doesn’t care because your followers don’t care. Your followers don’t know what’s going inside your organization. All they care about is seeing consistently great social content that actually resonates with them and having a high quality social care experience if they have an issue.
Your social channels aren’t going to go on pause to wait for your new team members to get up-to-speed when you hire somebody new.
To become change-proof against the reality of team turnover, it’s important to understand, accept, and plan for turnover. You don’t know when turnover is going to happen. You can almost never predict it, and that makes planning for it hard. We see that brands that anticipate and plan for turnover are well-equipped to minimize the impact of it. The key is having the right combination of software and services in place for if/when it does happen. Yes, you need a software that is easily adoptable by your new team members, but you also need a partner who understands and helps you anticipate these changes on the services side.
Learning 2) Your strategy is going to change.
As I mentioned before, social moves fast, and that means your social strategy often has a relatively short window of relevance. Social networks are constantly experimenting with and adding functionality to their platforms, while customer expectations are constantly shifting towards a mobile-first, social-first world. That puts a lot of pressure on brands to consistently refresh their social strategies, both within marketing and within social care, to keep up with the social networks, their consumers, and even their competition.
Brands who are change-proof against shifts in strategy are the ones who actually seek it out; they lean into an ever-evolving strategy based on thought leadership and best practices because they know it’s the only way to stay ahead of the pace of social. When done right, changing your social strategy should be an offensive move, not a defensive one. In order to do this, though, you have to have access to a partner who’s right there at the forefront of social with you. That doesn’t just mean a partner who has a strong product strategy, but also one who connects you with thought leadership resources and networking opportunities for you to learn from the best and brightest in social.
Brands who are change-proof against shifts in strategy are the ones who actually seek it out.
Learning 3) Your social platform is going to change (and that’s a good thing).
If you invest in a solution that truly values social and truly understands social’s value to you, the platform will consistently innovate and release new features and functionality that align with social’s strategic role in your organization. While some of the changes we’ve covered are daunting, not all change is bad. This one, for example, is extraordinarily valuable to you.
But even a valuable change like a new feature or functionality in your social platform needs an element of change-proofing. That starts from the beginning, understanding how your social platform values platform innovation and how they deliver against their strategic vision for the platform. Further than that, though, are the supporting resources they provide around the new features they’re launching. As with the other changes, the type of resources available to you from a services and support standpoint are extremely valuable.
As your business evolves and the role of social evolves with it, being able to change-proof your social organization is incredibly important to your success. You have to be able to anticipate, accept, and plan for the kinds of changes that come with operating social at scale.
As a forward-thinking enterprise, the question you really need to ask yourself is: How change-proof are you?