Archive for the ‘Social Strategist’ Category


Breakdown: Corporate Social Media Team

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The purpose of this post is to be a living document and industry reference on the topic of social media teams, as part as my ongoing coverage of corporate social media programs.  This perspective stems from industry research and deeper client engagements, see other ‘breakdown‘ posts.

Business Needs:
By definition, social business requires transformation within a company, resulting in leadership, program management, and a team to see this change through.  In most cases, we see this team as a centralized resource that’s often cross-functional working closely with a number of corporate functions as well as business units ranging from product teams, geographies, the field, and departments.  Without this team, the company will struggle to scale as different business units launch their own programs in a uncoordinated manner resulting in a fragmented customer experience, replication of duties, slow response in a coordinated manner, and a variety of tools, agencies, and vendors intersecting into the company.


Definition: The Corporate Social Media team is business program lead by a corporate social strategist that achieves business goals using social tools by coordinating with multiple business units across the enterprise.


Starting with Strategy
Before rolling out any team or putting job descriptions on the careers page, the leadership team and executive sponsors must ensure the right mindset and systematic rollout are in place.  We find that many companies who are successful follow the following traits:

  • Align with Corporate Goals –Not Social Media Goals. Don’t start with the aim of fans and followers instead first, have a business purpose that aligns with goals executives have already set, strategists should already know these, and then meld this new medium to these.  Next, evaluate current skillset and resources including obtaining resources from existing teams. I typically see companies developing a business case, with a request for resources and executive blessing from a charter.
  • Systematically Roll Out Program use Hierarchy of Needs.  Companies who run and deploy blogs/communities/FB pages are at risk by not first getting ready.  We found that advanced companies have deployed internal readiness such as governance, education, policies, process, and a roll-out program in a pragmatic method –not jumped to implementation.  Read the Social Readiness report to learn more.
  • To Scale, Let Go; Empower Business Units.  Companies who reach a level of maturity often allow trusted and trained business units to implement their own social programs after aligning to the program charter of the social media team.  This state allows business units to manage and deploy their program –encouraging scale and customization and speed at local levels.

Detailed Anatomy of Team
Altimeter found in a former survey of 144 global national corporations (read the full report) that the average composition of an enterprise class (over 1000 employees) company’s full time social media team is 11 professionals, often cross-functional. This research includes dozens of interviews and close interaction with Altimeter brand side clients who are leading these programs on a daily basis.


Screen shot 2011-12-22 at 8.11.57 AM


Matrix:  Breakdown of the Corporate Social Strategist Team

Note that in smaller teams, individuals may cover multiple roles, and in most cases these are cross-functional teams, as community managers may often come from product marketing, customer support, or corporate communications.

Role Primary Duty What No One Tells You
Social Strategist Leader and program manager,The program leader for social business, the strategist is responsible for overall vision and accountability towards investments.  We’ve done a detailed study on the career path of the social strategist including demographics, psychographics, business goals and challenges. Don’t hire an evangelist if they don’t have program manager chops. This individual must run a business program, and able to measure against real business results like: leads, sentiment, csat, customer support, and reduced costs.
Community Managers Primarily outbound and customer-facing, this role is a trusted member of the community, serving as a liaison between the community and the brand. These are often the most under-appreciated professionals in the team as they deal with customer woes time off hours and some even suffer personally as they deal with customer angst. Hire community managers that are balance brand enthusiasm with passion for customers –these are not PR pros that are on party message, but instead are trusted members of the community. Read the four tenants of the community manager to learn more. Celebrate these roles on Community Manager Appreciation Day.
Business Unit Liason These internal facing members have a primary duty of reaching out to business units to get them to collaborate, get on board and often join a center of excellence. They may also represent a particular business unit, department, product line, or region. These are key conduits to maintaining relationships with many business teams, and are key for achieving enterprise coordination in scale. As an interface inside of larger corporations, this role serves as an internal conduit to 1.5 coordinate efforts with other business units, in order to provide them with resources, as well as ensure consistency. Yet don’t let them talk to business units unarmed, they should have a checklist of requirements and slot in education manager to obtain consistency.
Education Manager This often part-time role is designed to serve multiple business units and rank-and- .5 file employees in planning and organizing social media education, including best Manager! practices, policies, and resources Seek an individual that knows both social technologies but is patient to teach executives, business program managers, the team and rank and file.  Encourage them to work closely with existing education programs.
Social Media Manager This professional will have several projects with fixed stop dates to manage and ongoing programs.  This may include launching programs, managing campaigns, dealing with agencies, and keeping teams on timelines.  They may work in corporate or with business units. This individual is the engine of the team that keeps time, resources, and expectations aligned.  Beyond finding social media expertise, look for project managers that have a background in operations or may be project managed certified.
Social Analyst Using brand monitoring, social analytics, web analytics, and traditional marketing 1 tools, the social analyst is responsible for measurement and reporting across the entire program and for individual business units This individual should be able to see the big picture of the forest and ascertain how social is impacting the customer experience and business beyond minute details.
Web Developer The web developer typically already exists at the company, yet provides dedicated assistance to help plan, brand, configure, and integrate social technologies as stand- alone efforts, or into existing systems Work with a developer that is capable of connecting disparate social technologies with existing enterprise systems.  As social software suites become dominant, the need for data integration will become a strategic asset for corporations.
Content Strategist (new role) This individual will coordinate content strategies across the enterprise, customers, and partners, spanning both advertising, corporate content and social media content. Ensure this person is well read on Altimeter colleague Rebecca Lieb’s book on Content Marketing, and research report on same topic.
Digital Strategist This role already existing in many corporations and will closely work with team to integrate social into all digital channels, both online, on TV, in real world and beyond. Ensure this role knows that social can be a different medium and may require longer term efforts, dealing with negative content, and a rapid response team.
Agency Partners Most companies rely on third party experts, both digital agencies and specialized social media agency of records.  These teams can provide services for education, strategy, creative, content management, community management, analytics and beyond. Over the coming period, expect that the social media agency of record (SMaoR) will start to vaporize as digital agencies offer similar offerings, acquire them, or social agencies offer ads.

Common Team Characteristics by Maturity

Not all teams are equal, and we’ve measured the sophistication of teams by maturation which is dependent upon culture, resources, duration, and team skills to navigate. While it’s difficult to put a team in a direct specific column, the following trends are common across the following maturation phases.

 Maturity Novice Intermediate Mature
Summary Description Evangelism, Education, Catalzying Change Program Formation, Coalescing, Coordination as a Central Resource Empowerment of business units to succeed within established guidelines
Primary Focus Areas Proving business case, wrangling business units, scrapping for resources Managing interest from business units that may be out of control, or getting the entire org coordinate and on board. Still proving business case to executives and business units that are threatended Company is on board, consistently, yet primary focus is integrating into existing business systems and optomization
Common Resources Often a small scrappy team (3) of just a few folks, this team has a small budget and humble set of resources that likely include brand monitoring, social media management tools and online communities. Typically, we see a larger increase of internal team size (8) there are more resources being applied to this program. At this phase, most companies launch centralized resources (often called a Center of Excellence) to serve the corporation. Often a larger team size that we’ve seen grow beyond 20 folks in an FTE capacity this dedicated team is cross-functional, yet has consolidated leadership from a core function across the enterprise.
How to Drive Business Case When pitching to executives, focus on three data points: 1) Social is a trend, not a fad 2) Our customers are using it (show data and anecdotes, 3) These are trusted conversations (show Edelman data) and we’re not actively involved. Focus on risk of social media proliferation and social crises from risk of lack of coordination. Show cost benefit analysis of not conjoining a single program Ensure programs are aligned with business objectives that executives are setting, if it’s market size increase, more leads, or better customer satisfcation, integrate into these existing programs.

Prior Research and Web Strategy Resources
This has been my core research coverage over last few years, here’s some of my prior reports and resources, that span career paths, team orgs, tools, industry hires, and list of team leaders.


Select Industry Resources
I read as much as I could that was already published online, here’s a few select resources for further insights.


Future of Social Media Teams
In closing, these teams are dedicated units that are serving the corporation in a cross-functional manner. In time, they will give up much of the deployment in exchange for allowing business units to scale. Expect that these teams evolve or become subsumed into content strategy teams, digital marketing, or customer experience teams that span multiple channels and mediums, as they are already not limited to social channels.

Data: Composition of a Corporate Social Media Team

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How are today’s social media teams structured? Ever wonder who’s behind those corporate Twitter and Facebook accounts? Think there’s more to it than an intern just tweeting haphazardly?

This data, in the below graphic, is compiled from Altimeter’s recent survey to 144 global national corporations with over 1000 employees shows how today’s teams in 2011 are breaking down. This is the core team that operates the social media program within a corporation, often within corporate communications or a marketing function they will work with other business units. For very large corporations, they may be fragmented among many business units (the Dandelion model), and this data doesn’t even include agency, consultants, or even research firms who help out. Here’s what we found:

Screen shot 2011-12-22 at 8.11.57 AM

Finding: A Social Media Team Consists of Four Major Functions
While the team size may vary, it’s important to understand the components of a team.  Also, it’s key to look at the ratios between the groups, so companies can know how to plan and budget. Although you can learn more about the specific titles here, among the responses, we found a trend of four key groups, segmented by:

  1. Leadership Team: We found 1.5 folks are focused on leadership and vision, the most common title is the Corporate Social Strategist, and we published a research report discussing the aspirations and challenges of this Open Leader, and how they organize internally.  They are primarily focused on the overall program ROI, and are internally focused to drive business results. This role is a requirement, even if it’s a part time role.
  2. Business Unit Facing: Two folks are facing the business units (liason, education), and work inside of the company to help multiple business units from sales, support, products, field, execs get on board.  Often they can be segmented by region (like Sarah Goodall, SAPs EMEA social strategist) and even by product units. These roles are key for coordinated scale, once the center of excellence has been established
  3. Market-Facing: Three three community managers are facing customers, and serve as a go-between to balance the needs between customers and the corporation, I’ve written at length about these important professionals, see all tagged posts. These units are key for customer interaction, but in the end cannot scale and will shift to advocacy or enable customers to respond to each other.
  4. Program Management: We found 4.5 are in program management (developers, analytics) that keep the ship growing by running programs often at the corporate level like the social media managers, the analyst that’s conducting reporting and brand monitoring programs, and lastly the developer teams, which get systems to work. As a corporate resources serving spokes, these roles are key, esp as data needs to be aggregated for business intelligence.

Applying This Data To Your Program
Averages are helpful, but only if we can apply this to your business, and because it’s not easy to publish about all the variations, here’s how to apply it to your business: 

  • Company size changes team headcount –yet ratios likely stay same. This is an average, so the changes of you having exactly 11 folks is not likely, chances are your company is larger or smaller than this average –and your team size will vary.  In fact, this is often a cross-functional team, as a majority of companies are in the hub and spoke or dandelion models.   In fact, if your company is smaller, you may be wearing multiple hats –but we should expect the ratios of the roles to roughly average out, all things equal.
  • Mature programs shift to empowerment, changing team dynamic. We’ve sorted data by maturity in previous sample sizes, and know that in 2010 the team sizes were a little under 4 for novice, about 8 for intermediate, and could get up to 20 for mature programs, read the report on budgets and team sizes.  You should expect similar modeling to occur in all corporations.  Furthermore, we’ve seen trends that more advanced companies will have more business unit liasons to empower teams, and reduce their core community managers as the conversations move the edges of the company.
  • If these teams are successful, they fade into the background. In the future, these teams will likely shrink, or evolve into customer experience teams. Know that the corporate social strategist will work themselves out of a job.  Why?  Business units will be able to operate their own programs without excessive oversight, following program guidelines, and using pre0-set best practices and sanctioned software systems.  With that said, a core team will always be required, to coordinate the enterprise, but we predict this will evolve into a customer experience team (or back into the CX team)

Thanks to Christine Tran, Senior Researcher at Altimeter (and part-time tomato farmer) for work on surveying brands, analysis, and collating data for this graphic. If you’re in one of these teams, I would to hear from you, what your team size is, composition, in the comments below.

Update: Here’s a related graphic detailed the team roles and descriptions, all from the report on Social Business Readiness where the data above is from.

Average Composition of a Social Media Team

List of Corporate Social Media Strategists, Corporate Community Managers in 2010

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Update Jan 7, 2011: I am no longer updating this list, instead, find the more updated list for 2011 for Corporate Social Strategists.

As an industry watcher, I look at trends, data, spending, technologies, yet what’s really important is watching the trend of professionals as they grow into these roles managing disruptive technologies.  Update: Brian Hayashi has created a spreadsheet of this with additional info –like Twitter handles. We’re staying coordinated so the data is matched, follow Brian on Twitter.

[Connecting with customers using social technologies is deceptively challenging, as most outsiders don't recognize the leadership to change internal cultural. Now, in public, let's recognize those who are paving the way]

Methodology: About this List
This 2010 list is an update from the original I started in 2008, it was woefully out of date as people moved around.  This list is updated, as I’ve separated the large technology section in HW vs SW and am only linking to LinkedIn accounts.

A majority of this data is based off submissions in the 2008 post, which most which are self-submissions or from their fellow colleagues and we only link to their already public profile in LinkedIn for verification.  We’ve spend days compiling this data, but due to the content ever changing, we expect there to be some inaccuracies, leave a comment if you see something that needs fixing. Thanks to Sonal Mehta a student at American University who I’ve hired helped me in this research.

Read Carefully: How to get on this List
In a world of noise, curation becomes very valuable, as a result, there are very specific requirements for this list, which include:  1) You must have a public LinkedIn profile page, as this is one of the best way to verify employment. 2) The profile indicates that social media is part of your full time employee role at the corporation–not just for personal or casual use.  3) You must work at an enterprise class corporation with more than 1000 employees, 4) Must be on brand side  5) You’ll kindly leave a comment below with the submission for review.   Due to excess volume, submissions by Twitter and emails or other channels will not be included, kindly leave a comment in this centralized area below.

In an effort to keep information in a tight scope, I’m not able to include folks who are doing great work in other sectors.  However, if you decide to create a list for other sectors, I’ll prominently link to it from this post.  Update: Here’s a growing list for non-profits.

Sign Up For Upcoming Free Report: Skillset of the Social Media Strategist
The Altimeter Group is developing a free research report, on “Skillsets of Social Media Strategists” and will identify the attributes, backgrounds, experience of this emerging role, if you’re interested in receiving a copy, please register on this form.  We will use portions of the data found in this post for the research report, so thanks for helping to update it.


Social Media Strategists at Corporations
The strategist is a program manager, who mainly focuses internally rather than being the external public face like the community manager. They are primarily responsible for resources, processes, teams, they are usually internally focused and ultimately, return on investment.

Airline

Automotive

Business Services

Consumer Product Goods

Electronics, Devices, Mobile

Financial Services

Health and Life Sciences

Hospitality, Food Service

Government, Armed Services, Education

Media and Entertainment

Retail

Technology, Hardware, Networking, Component, Computer

Technology, Software, Internet


Community Managers at Corporations
The  community manager is primarily externally facing, and interacts with customers as the public face of the company.  They are primarily customer advocates, evangelists, bloggers, community moderators,  and experts at using social technologies to communicate.  We honor them every fourth Monday of January on Community Manager Appreciation Day.  To keep the focus tight, this list is only of corporate community managers, and not those on contract at community platform vendors or service companies on contract.

Automotive

Business Services

Government, Armed Services, Education

Hospitality and Travel

Electronics, Devices, Mobile

Financial Services

Retail

Technology, Hardware, Networking, Component, Computer

Technology, Software, Internet

Social Media Researchers and Social Media Product Managers at Corporations
When I started this list in 2008, I didn’t have a specific slot for researchers and product managers who are creating these products. These roles are not folks who are using the technologies for marketing, support, or other business use cases (end users) but instead are researching and creating the products that the above professionals will use in their jobs.

I’m passionate about what these folks do, as I, myself, was a strategist/community manager at an enterprise corporation a few years ago.   Update: Thanks to Altimeter’s Andrew Jones for the assistance on the updates.