Why it’s time to get rid of your social media guy

One person can’t handle social media on his own. Here’s why social should be a team effort.

There was a time long ago when dinosaurs ruled the earth and organizations considered it acceptable to have one social media person on staff.

This person showed people how use Twitter and set up a Facebook page, and was ultimately responsible for single-handedly carrying out a social media strategy with elbow grease as the exclusive item in the budget.

Meanwhile, his peers who managed email, direct marketing, and even the company vending machine got more resources and, of course, more appreciation from their colleagues.

“Social media is easy. My niece started her own blog.”

Social media is something the intern can do. Don’t spend a lot of time on it.”

“We know we’ve got to ‘play in the social space,’ so let’s get a social media guy!”

Unlike his jurassic counterparts, the lone social media guy is a concept that is far from extinct. And the organizations that prolong his existence might be doing so at their own risk.

OK, this is an extreme analogy, but here’s why you should consider making social media more of a team effort and less of a solo act:

1. Social media needs to be a layer, not a silo.

You should consider social media an extension of any other campaign, or a tentacle of the overall content strategy.

Don’t develop a content strategy in a vacuum and tack on social media as an afterthought. Incorporate it into the DNA of your strategy. You can only do this when you incorporate social into the DNA of your employees.

2. Many hands make light work.

The most successful social media activations are typically not the work of a lone ranger. You need depth of thought and breadth of experience. The more members who actively contribute to the cause, the more brains available to solve problems and interact with your audience. Find smart ways to integrate social media into your organization.

Too often, people treat social media like a checklist, not a tool. In other words, organizations who do the bare minimum (i.e. ” We have a Facebook page!” or “We tweet every day!”) miss the potential impact social can have when the entire organization uses it.

Here are some examples:

  • JCK: Editors who have their own beats support the official accounts and actively engage with followers. Social media isn’t exclusively the job of the Web editor; everyone contributes.
  • The Engage blog: The blog is not the voice of one person, but the collective chorus of a team. It doesn’t always sing in tune, but that’s a good thing. Everyone brings various perspectives and applies brainpower to problems.

A social media guy can easily walk away, but a social organization requires a full-blown strike to go down.

Warning: This doesn’t mean everyone needs a Twitter account.

Some of the smartest content people I know don’t have active Twitter accounts, but they lurk on Twitter and many other places online. They participate in forums and industry discussions, and pay careful attention to what others do online.

They may not speak the language publicly, but they read and consume it quietly and have context when people discuss strategic decisions. They don’t rely exclusively on a social media guy because they’re social media guys, too. They just aren’t alone.

Andrew Hanelly is the director of digital strategy at TMG. A version of this article originally appeared on the TMG blog. (Image via)

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