| Jul 4, 2023 | | 11 min read

Tips and strategies for assembling an elite social media team


In the rapidly evolving landscape of social media, a successful online presence requires so much more than just catchy captions and vibrant images. It demands a cohesive, skilled social media team operating behind the scenes, orchestrating an effective social media marketing strategy that can effectively propel brands forward.

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In this article, we’ll talk about the key roles you should fill when building your social media marketing department, as well as best practices to follow when hiring and managing social media experts.

Let’s dive in.

Key roles you need to fill

Building that social media marketing team involves careful consideration and foresight. While each member should have high-level social media skills, it’s just as important for the members of your social media team to complement each other.

Having a diverse team ensures everyone plays a key role in your agency, while working together to manage the social media accounts of your clients effectively. Here’s what your social media marketing team structure should look like:

1. Social media manager

The social media manager is in charge of overall social media strategy and execution for your social media department. This person heads up your social media team, providing direction to other members, developing social media goals and objectives for your clients, and ensuring the entire department runs smoothly.

2. Content creator

The content creator is like the bread and butter of your social media team. It’s their job to determine what’s posted on your clients’ accounts, when to post it, and how to ensure it aligns with strategies developed by the social media manager and other members of the social media management team.

They’re responsible for developing high-quality content for all social media platforms used by your clients, as well as for developing content calendars, scheduling posts, and collaborating with designers who can create stunning visual content that complements their copy.

3. Community manager

On social media, engagement is half the battle. If you want to succeed, your clients need to succeed too, and in order to experience social media success, it’s imperative that a brand engages with its audience. As the agency in charge of your client’s accounts, you’re likely expected to handle engagement on their behalf.

That’s where the community manager comes in. They’re responsible for:

  • Social listening: Monitoring client accounts for comments, mentions, and messages.
  • Interactions: Responding to followers, customers, and inquiries.
  • Relationship-building: Fostering ongoing engagement with members of the brand’s community.

4. Social media strategist

Strategy is key when it comes to social media and the social media strategist on your team can handle just that. It’s up to them to tackle research and analysis by gathering data on social media performance and industry competitors on your clients’ behalf.

The information they gather helps them develop effective strategies that cater to the brand’s target audience and current trends within their industry. It also helps your agency effectively track social media performance and set ongoing social media goals and objectives.

In many cases, social media advertising campaigns can be just as important as profiles. In fact, social media ad impressions are on the rise on every platform, with millions of users viewing ads daily (Statista). When it comes to your social media team, the digital marketer or paid advertising strategist plays a significant role.

Their job is to develop and execute paid advertising campaigns and oversee them from start to finish. That includes optimizing performance over time, analyzing metrics, and most importantly, adhering to your client’s advertising budget.

6. Analytics specialist

While your social media staff does include members in key roles that work with metrics and analytics, it doesn’t hurt to have someone who specializes in social media analytics exclusively. This person’s job description includes:

  • Data collection: Gathering analytics from each social media platform.
  • Analysis: Reviewing all analytics and determining which campaigns require further optimization.
  • ROI calculations: Ensuring your clients and your agency are garnering a healthy return on their social media investment.

7. Graphic designer

Graphic designers work closely with content creators to create visually appealing graphics that are on-brand for your clients. They're responsible for ensuring all visuals, including images, slideshows, and infographics are cohesive with branding and written content.

8. Video editor

If you’ve promised reels or video ad campaigns to your client, the video editor on your social media team is a key player. Their role is to edit and produce high-quality videos that showcase your clients’ products or services in a way that reflects their voice and exudes professionalism.  The video editor also enhances your video content by adding captions, animations, and effects.

9. Influencer manager

Influencer marketing has become an increasingly popular way to advertise in recent years. From the micro-influencer whose reach is minimal to the mega-influencer whose profile reaches millions each day, influencers can help get your clients’ brands displayed in front of a brand-new audience that’s within their target market.

However, managing multiple influencers on behalf of multiple brands can feel like a full-time job. That’s why an influencer manager can be such an important part of your social media management team. They handle influencer collaborations from start to finish, including identifying opportunities to work with influencers, negotiating collaboration terms, building influencer relationships, and measuring influencer campaign impact.

10. Social media customer service representative

Your social media customer service representative ensures that your clients’ followers are happy. They handle inquiries and complaints on social media channels your agency manages in a timely manner and work to maintain a positive brand image for the sake of customer satisfaction.

Bonus: SEO specialist

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a big part of selling social media packages. SEO helps you ensure people are able to find your content on Google, Bing, and other search engines. An SEO strategist helps you achieve this goal by conducting keyword research, implementing SEO strategies such as social media and content optimization, and monitoring and improving visibility and rankings on social platforms.

Tips and best practices for building a strong, all-star social media team

Most often, finding the right people comes from following best practices for developing an effective social media marketing team structure, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding.

Hire diverse skill sets

Instead of hiring several people who can do a little of everything, build a social media marketing team that’s comprised of several individuals with expertise in different areas of social media marketing. Make sure you’ve got people on your SMM team with focused expertise in content creation, community management and engagement, analytics, and advertising.

When hiring, consider the unique strengths your current team members possess and where you’re lacking. Look for individuals with experience and a proven track record in the areas you need them most.

Foster collaboration and communication

The most successful teams communicate openly and often. Keep in mind that collaboration in the workplace can increase productivity by 25% or more (Zippia), so encouraging frequent collaboration among the members of your team is crucial. Social media management tools, project management tools, and communication tools can help you streamline collaboration among the members of your social media marketing team and ensure everyone is aligned in their goals.

Invest in training and development

Social media is an ever-evolving landscape. With frequent updates to algorithms and features, as well as new platforms coming out of the woodwork almost weekly, it can be challenging for your team to stay up to date on the latest industry changes.

Help your social media marketing team stay on top of industry changes by providing ongoing training and opportunities to take part in workshops and professional development courses. Encourage your team to seek out their own training opportunities as well and provide them with incentives to continuously learn and grow.

Foster a creative environment

In the social media world, creativity is key. Help your social media team keep the creative juices flowing by fostering a workplace environment that encourages team members to bring forth new ideas and experiment with varied approaches to social media content development.

A creative work environment also leaves plenty of time for reflecting on ideas both solo and with fellow team members, as well as room for failure. A failure-tolerant culture is the best way to ensure that members of your social media marketing team are willing to consistently bring forth creative new ideas fearlessly.

Set clear goals and metrics for everyone

While occasional failure should be considered acceptable in a creative workplace, that doesn’t mean there isn’t work to be done. Everyone on your team should have clear goals in mind that are both quantitative and qualitative to ensure client satisfaction on every project you take on. Use key performance indicators to track your SMM team’s success and measure their performance against predetermined goals to ensure they’re making progress and achieving success.

Embrace flexibility and adaptability

In the ever-changing social media landscape, you’ll need to embrace flexibility and adaptability as core values within your social media marketing department. Platforms are constantly introducing new features, algorithms, and trends that can have a substantial impact on your marketing strategies. If you want to stay ahead of the curb, it’s imperative that your social media staff is open to change and ready to adjust strategies at the drop of a dime.

A culture of flexibility within your team can encourage your team members to think creatively and embrace innovation, helping them feel more equipped to handle unexpected challenges and to seize new opportunities in social media as they arise. Stay agile, monitor algorithm changes and trends, and continually adjust your strategies accordingly.

Encourage data-driven decision-making

Data-driven decision-making is a crucial step for any social media marketing team. It helps your social media staff make informed decisions based on concrete data and insights, which can significantly enhance the performance of client campaigns.

Making decisions based on data allows your team to move beyond assumptions and gut feelings, enabling them to make strategic choices that are based on real-world evidence. Encourage the use of social media analytics and insights to gather information about audience behavior and preferences, content performance, engagement rates, and conversion metrics. This data can help you and your social media team gain a deeper understanding of what works and what doesn’t so you can optimize campaigns for better results.

Promote a positive team culture

The most successful digital marketing agencies are known for their positive team culture and take their own reputation on social media as serious as that of their clients’. Creating that positive team culture takes more than just a good attitude in the workplace.

  • Encourage open communication: Give your team the tools they need to creatively collaborate and communicate openly. Allow them to feely share concerns, ideas, and feedback with you and other members of the team, and actively listen to their perspectives.
  • Value respect: Regardless of the situation, every member of your social media staff should feel respected in every interaction at work.
  • Celebrate achievements: Whether it’s a small win or a big win, the success of your entire team or one individual, celebrate it. Take time to recognize the hard work and dedication your team members demonstrate. Highlight successes at regular team meetings, applaud milestones as they arise, and express gratitude for the efforts of your team often.

Stay updated with industry trends

Keep your team at the forefront of the social media landscape by providing them with the resources and tools they need to keep abreast of industry trends. Provide your SMM staff with access to resources like industry blogs, podcasts, and newsletters that offer valuable insights and updates. Additionally, encourage them to take time each day to actively seek out new information and share findings with the rest of the team.

Attend conferences, workshops, webinars, and industry events. These opportunities can help you connect with peers and industry experts to learn about new strategies and upcoming trends.

Keep an eye on emerging social media platforms, as well. While established platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter remain important, new platforms are emerging often, many with unique features and demographics. Stay aware of these developments and assess their relevance for your clients’ target audiences.

Foster continuous improvement and feedback

Continuously asking for feedback and making regular improvements is essential—especially in the early days of your social media marketing agency. By frequently evaluating your team’s performance (and your own), and by encouraging feedback, you can identify areas for improvement and foster a culture of growth and excellence within your agency.

Frequently asked questions

How can I find and recruit the right people for my social media team?

Define your needs clearly, craft compelling job descriptions, leverage social media platforms for posting your job openings, and network and ask for referrals. Once you’ve collected several qualified applicants, take your time to screen and interview candidates by assessing their social media presence and conducting assessments of their skills.

What skills and experience should I look for when hiring for a social media team?

Look for candidates with social media expertise, as well as a strategic mindset, creative content creation skills, and a history of effective communication. Consider the needs of your agency and ensure your potential candidates understand what you’re looking for and possess the necessary skills to fill any gaps in your social media marketing team.

About the Author

Solange Messier is the Content Strategy Manager at Vendasta. Solange has spent the majority of her career in content marketing helping companies improve how they connect with their prospects and customers. Her diverse background includes magazine publishing, book publishing, marketing agencies, payment processing, and tech. When she's not working, Solange can be found spending time with her family, running, and volunteering.

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