4 things to do when your social media manager leaves

Your social media head is leaving the company? Follow these steps for a smooth transition.

There have been a lot changes in the social media world this year. Some of the most respected names in the industry announced their departure from big brands. There have even been some changes here in the Detroit social media community.

Transitions are never easy, but changes in the social media space often bring new complications. In many cases, the individuals behind successful social media programs are very visible and integrated into the program. Removing that personality from public efforts can cause headaches for any company.

If your social media lead decides to take her career in another direction, consider incorporating these steps into your transition plan:

1. Rewrite the job description.

If your former employee has a few years under her belt, there is a good chance the job evolved quite a bit since day one. Changes in technology and best practices have likely affected not only daily responsibilities, but the overall core strategy.

Before your social media lead steps out the door, be sure to review the current job description and make appropriate updates. If possible, ask your outgoing lead to work with you to make the updates. Be sure to include an updated list of monitoring platforms, analytics services, and other related software programs your company uses.

Additionally, capture any updated usernames, passwords, and original creative files (images, video, etc.). It sounds elementary, but you would be surprised how often people overlook these simple steps.

2. Prepare and deliver your external message.

One of the hardest obstacles in any transition is to communicate the change to your clients and customers. It’s very likely the departing social media lead will prepare a message for a personal blog and social channels.

If your employee is very visible and leaving on good terms, a great tactic is to prepare an exit announcement or blog post. This message should probably come from a senior executive on the communications team as a sign of strength. This is also the opportunity to introduce or reintroduce new voices, even if they’re only temporary.

3. Update existing creative.

In the social media space, many brands tend to humanize the people behind their logos. This means the proper exit transition may involve more than just updating the names and faces on your website.

If a list doesn’t already exist, inventory your existing social accounts and determine where you need to make changes. It’s also a good idea to have something creative waiting in the wings in case you need to swap out images due to staff departures. For example, swap out a Twitter background that features the names and faces of the operators for something brand neutral until you can make the appropriate changes.

4. Make sure business continues as usual.

The most important thing you can do is ensure the customer/client experience remains the same throughout the transition. If you have an internal team or social media agency, make sure it has a backlog of content prepared as internal resources shift around.

Try not to let communities and social media accounts go dormant. It can take a lot of extra effort to jumpstart a social media presence. Keep energy levels consistent to help sidestep this issue.

Have you had a social media lead depart the program? How did you handle the transition?

Brandon Chesnutt is social media director at Identity. A version of this article originally appeared on ID Tags by Identity.

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