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Understand How Teams Fuel Social Media Success


Lee Wilson, Contributor to Understanding Social Media, Identifies the Value that Teams Can Bring to Social Media Success

Understanding How Social Media Works in a Team Environment

When employing in-house social media expertise, the campaign’s success or failure is often tied almost directly to the personal success or failure of the individual(s) employed. When outsourcing social media management to a specialist digital agency, the focus shifts to expertise and deliverables.

It is the expert team delivery aspect of social media, from an agency perspective, that I am focusing on in this article.

Some of the key messages I target include:

  • Individuals vs teams
  • The value of integration
  • The impact of data
  • The importance of technique

Individuals versus teams

Expert social media managers are no different to other online specialists (SEO, PPC and UX, for example) or broader digital managers when it comes to their unique roles within a team.

They each have specialist knowledge but also their own perspective on what works and how they can apply that knowledge to any given scenario. On top of this, human nature means that we naturally gravitate towards tasks we enjoy doing, sometimes even to the extent of great risk-to-resource overspend.

In a team environment where numerous people are working on the same campaign, the extent of the above is minimised. In smaller teams, or when companies hire individuals to manage social campaigns, it’s markedly more pronounced. If individuals focus on one minor aspect, a specific metric, or a particular social network, they can become entrenched very quickly indeed.

This is why a team approach helps.

Collaborative working environments fuel creativity. Individuals can share their expertise, debate best practice, compare thoughts on the available data (which is always open to interpretation) and deliver consensus on key management areas.

It is not uncommon for individual social experts to excel on certain social channels, yet repeatedly struggle to deliver the optimum value from others; another situation in which the team approach excels.

A number of different social media types are depicted via the Conversation Prism which will give you a good idea of just why individuals are unlikely to excel in all areas.

The value of integration

When you look at the restrictions of isolated working within individuals, the next logical step is to look at the restrictions of isolated working within single teams.

Something that many agencies fail to truly master and deliver for customers is the value derived from agency-wide integration, such as the cumulative benefits of linking social with, SEO, content and PPC.

Every digital channel overlaps in terms of audience, strategy, actions and results. It is paramount that, for maximum gains, multiple teams of expertise must be applied to deliver success.

The impact of data

Data is the fundamental step in activity creation. If you only focus on a single medium, without using all of the available data and expertise, the logic behind your decisions will be too narrow in focus.

You can see the wider value of this with the data radiation model from Vertical Leap. The message is that data is central to the decision making process.

With depth of data and collaborative expertise, you obtain better insight and can make more intelligent decisions.

Content is the final touch point and it’s important to see this as any type, be it a single tweet, picture, share, white paper, video or something else entirely:


Source: Vertical Leap -

The importance of technique

When you have teams of specialist experts, the most important consideration is their delivery technique. It is important to differentiate from ‘how good is a specific individual at social media?’ towards ‘how good is our social media?’

Think about the delivery of social media and differentiators within the techniques being used. Ask yourself questions like the following and consider how this could apply to technique improvements:

  • How are your campaigns performing against industry benchmarks?
  • What is the allocation of time and resources at an aggregated level? Does this correlate with your expectations?
  • What metrics are being used to measure success? Are you able to identify clear actions impacting those metrics?

These questions are ones you should always keep in mind and refer back to when analysing the success of your campaigns.

My intention with this article is to get you thinking about the value that teams can bring to social media success. Bringing individuals in-house means they can get up close and personal with your brand and its products or services. However, this specific and narrow focus is also likely to be applied elsewhere as well. Using an agency team, on the other hand, brings with it benefits in the shape of varied analysis, a deeper pool of insight and more scope for collaboration.