While many social media programs start out as a one-person show, organizations grow, social media strategy evolves, and as a result, processes need to be modified to accommodate changes. What works for an individual who is monitoring social media exposure and managing engagement can fall short when extended to multiple team members. In the worst case scenario, an ill-equipped team can lead to miscommunication among team members as to who should be responding to social comments, ultimately leading to unhappy customers who haven’t been responded to.

Luckily, creating a scalable process doesn’t have to be a chore on par with doing taxes. Follow these three tips based on four years experience of growing social media in-house, as an outside consultant, and as an agency resource.

Tip 1: Invest in a social workflow tool the entire team can use 

When starting out with a new social media program, teams frequently share social media platform logins instead of investing in a team workflow solution. What this saves in monthly marketing technology costs, is paid in decreased team productivity. For instance, channel logins may get changed without letting the team know; multiple team members might work on answering questions in tandem, there could be a duplication of posts, accidental postings of personal messages to corporate accounts, and it may take endless email chains to follow up on the status of replies. And let’s not forget about the intellectual property loss that may occur if former team members leave for a competitor and has access to your social passwords.

Meltwater Engage makes it easy to provide multiple team members with access to specific social media channels; this makes it a useful tool for distributing your social media posting and social response duties. I’m also a fan for its social response mechanism, due to its ability to elevate prior conversations an individual has had with your brand (so you don’t frustrate them with a duplicate and ineffective reply) and their workflow tools.

The ideal tool for scaling allows specific team members to take ownership of specific interactions while affording visibility into whether any action has been taken or not. This workflow eliminates duplication of effort and ensures timely responses to social interactions.

Tip 2: Create a social response framework

Many social media managers are cautious about opening up access to social channels due to concern over public perception without oversight. But it’s impossible—and not at all scalable—for one person to review every response that goes out. That’s where a social media response framework comes in.

Start by compiling a list of the most frequently asked questions your account receives through social media channels. Results of this audit will typically include how to subscribe or unsubscribe from your mailing list, assorted customer service requests, and interest in corporate jobs or internships. Add to that, potential crisis communication scenarios, such as a product recall, or high-profile personnel changes. Next, outline what the internal process should be for responding to each of these types of incoming messages. Who is the internal subject matter expert (SME) that has the final say on how to respond, and what’s the best way to reach them? What are some examples of channel specific responses?

It’s important that your team does not cut-n-paste copy or spew canned replies from your response framework, especially in the case of a social media crisis. Nothing can kill social media authenticity like a Facebook page or Twitter page flooded with the same canned response to comments. Instead, the example copy is there for team members to use as a starting point for replying.

Tip 3: Document your social media content strategy

Last but not least, it’s paramount that the extended social media team to be on the same page regarding their business objectives. It’s important to understand how your social media efforts help achieve these goals. A comprehensive social media content strategy, combined with a social editorial calendar, are your primary tools for creating social media team alignment.

Any robust social media strategy should include the following:

  • Prioritized list of social media objectives
  • Clear social media response guidelines, including when not to respond
  • A defined voice chart to guide content development
  • Goals, activities and high-level content plan for each social channel
  • Ownership of social media activities and channels
  • Approval processes
  • Agreed upon measures for success are, how often they’ll be measured, and the resources/tools to measure them

Prompts on questions to ask your team and information to have on hand, as you build out a social media strategy, can be found at this comprehensive social media strategy overview from Social Media Examiner.

For a complete guide to social media program—from tools, to budgets, to new hires—read our recent e-book Social Media to Scale.

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