Small but effective: How to make the most of your small social team

We spoke with Ian Suarez of Visit Orlando about how to optimize a smaller group of social media aces.

If you’ve worked in any sort of media capacity lately, there’s a good chance you know how to make the most magic with a limited set of resources to help your team succeed. Sometimes those teams are so small that they’re made up of just one person! But just because your team is tiny doesn’t mean the work you do can’t have a major impact.

Ahead of his panel appearance at Ragan’s Social Media Conference in March, we caught up with Ian Suarez, senior social media manager at Visit Orlando about how to be an effective communicator on social media when the team you’ve got isn’t the biggest.

The right tools for the job

If you’re on a small social team, you will want to surround yourself with the right people adjacent to the social media efforts. This can include tapping a supportive marketing arm of the organization to guide the tone and context of any posts or campaigns you run, or working with HR to ensure that you’re putting out copy that accurately reflects company culture.

According to Suarez, many people working on social teams start their roles by simply posting to the available platforms, but he says there’s more to it than just content creation.

“I think it’s important to use tools that can help you distribute content to a bunch of different platforms at once,” Suarez said. “We want people to follow us across all of our channels, but we try to tailor our content to each platform to drive that engagement. If you’ve got people who know the platforms and channels and love what they do, you’ll be set up to succeed.”

Suarez added that small teams should look to maximize the skills of team members to create the most effective and engaging content. He pointed to his own experience with graphic design as an area of expertise that he lends to his social team.

“The key for us has been knowing our strengths and learning how we can all work together,” he said.

External partnerships matter

The above examples illustrate how it’s critical to be in touch with multiple people and departments \ across your organization are often critical. In addition to internal partnerships, a big challenge for social teams can center on collaborating with the correct influencers on the right platforms. The key question is — how can you make this happen most effectively?

“With a small team and so much going on (in Orlando), it’s about identifying the influencers that fit our team’s goals,” explained Suarez. “We look to work with those people that are not only creating great content, but those that we can partner with to share their content on our platforms so we can push that out to our audience.” He added that partnering with influencers also helps social teams tap into entirely new demographics of followers and help lighten the workload.

Streamlining the workflow

When you’re on a small team, social or otherwise, you’re likely going to get roped into multiple tasks at once, creating the need for an efficient and streamlined process. Suarez stressed that social media teams with limited numbers of members should have parameters and goals in place in order to measure success and stay on track.

“A lot of what we do at Visit Orlando centers on the whole team being aligned in their goals,” he said. “This goes back to something simple but important — trust. We trust that each member of the team can help by using their skills to make sure every part of the social content process is done in the best possible fashion.”

Suarez also added that having the right tools in place helps his team ensure that they’re pushing out social content on the right platforms at the right times.

“You’ve got to know your tools inside and out,” Suarez said. “It helps the team center their focus and determine what’s important. They also help us stay ahead of the curve regarding the content we’re sharing on behalf of the organization, and any help we can get to improve how we do our jobs is a welcome addition.”

You can learn more from Ian at Ragan’s Social Media Conference, March 15-17 at Walt Disney World.

Sean Devlin is an editor at Ragan Communications. In his spare time he enjoys Philly sports, a good pint and ’90s trivia night.

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