How to remove social media from the silo

Social media teams must interact and work with all departments. Here’s a look and how—and why.

With social media constantly changing, it’s easy for community managers to fall into the trap of dealing with the task ahead of them rather than the big picture that determines cross-departmental strategy.

Social media needs other departments to build a top-notch, multi-dimensional campaign for a client or company. A successful social media department or campaign requires the insight and assistance from the PR, marketing communications, design, customer service, advertising, SEO, and legal teams.

We’ve provided a guide so social media and community managers can reach out to other departments to get the assistance they need:

PR team

Editorial calendar: Know what time of the year the PR team promotes certain products, services, themes or events so you can match your content with the editorial calendar.

Press releases: Use ideas and keywords from social media content calendars on the day they are going out to help gain with buzz and improve search engine optimization (SEO).

Response triage chart: Your social media team should be familiar with how the PR department has required that the company respond to certain situations. Since many different types of conversations or questions can pop up on social media, you will need to know how to respond, and when/how to escalate if needed.

Crisis communication plan for social media: Ask the PR team whether they have a crisis communication plan for the company as a whole, or even better, one for social media specifically. A crisis can break out at any hour on social media, so don’t get caught unprepared.

Marketing communications

Branding guidelines: If your team will be responsible for creating content, be sure to get the guidelines from the marketing communications team, or get their approval before any such work gets published to ensure that it matches the overall branding of your client or company.

Logos: These are a must to properly set up and brand your social media channels. Make sure you use the right logos (and logo sizes) as profile images or other designs on all your social properties.

Photos/images: Social media managers are always in need of great photos for social media posts, and this department is where you will probably find most of them.


Design help: Unless you or your social media staff has design skills, you may need to lean on your graphic designers to help you create clever images and designs for your social media sweepstakes/contests, apps, posts, advertisements, blog and more.

Customer service

FAQs: You customer service team probably gets asked the same questions all the time. Get a list of these questions and answers so that you can provide the correct information when people ask you them on your social media channels.

A customer service mini-training: Ask your customer service team to schedule a customer service representative training with your team so that you know how to best handle customer service complaints, questions and praise via social. This could be anything from a one-hour meeting to a one-day training.


Current and future ad campaigns: Figure out what your ad team is doing in traditional marketing and online. You can use this information to promote print advertisements on social media or to figure out how you can work together to target your traditional marketing audience with Facebook advertising.


Keyword lists: Chat with your SEO team to gather a list of the keywords they are targeting this month and next, then use that to tailor your content calendar by adding them in sparingly and strategically to help with rankings.

Upcoming blog posts: If your SEO team is in charge of this, ask them for their upcoming posts and incorporate them into social posts so that you can boost their exposure while providing interesting information to your fans.

Future infographics, eBooks, white books, etc.: These are perfect examples of sharable content (especially infographics) so be sure to share.


Copyright infringement training: Almost every social media manager has run into a question or an issue about copyrights, especially when it comes to sharing images. Ask your legal team for a copyright 101 lesson, and email them whenever you are unsure of something before posting.

Sweepstakes/contest terms and conditions: If you are running a social media promotion, you should have a legally written/reviewed terms and conditions page that participants can refer to. This should be an easy document for your legal team to assist you with.

Contracts: If you are working on a promotion with another influential social media personality or blogger, a contract may come into play, so make sure to have your legal team review before you sign anything.

Carrie Peterson is the social media director at Internet Marketing Inc. (IMI), a full service digital marketing agency in San Diego. Devon DeMars is a social media project manager at IMI and works closely with Carrie on agency social media clients. Follow Carrie and Devon on Twitter at @CarrieSavvy and @DevonDeMars.

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