Most organizations have just one person (in-house or outsourced) that manages their social media efforts. And that person would not only handle social media updates; there would probably be a bunch of other things on the side that they would also look after. Or there would be two people handling social media, because how much more can you spend on a medium whose results are hazy at best, right? Wrong.
My simple question here is, “If a discipline has ‘social’ in its name itself, how can it NOT be managed ‘socially’ or in other words, by a team?”
Social media deals with people, not just one person. Getting the inputs and perspectives of more than one individual helps your brand sound like a “person” – someone your target audience would like to be friends with, as opposed to a stodgy corporate stooge that one would run a mile from.
I don’t suggest that smart ideas and great campaigns only happen inside closed boardrooms with a large team hacking away all night long. Indeed, 78% of large companies have a dedicated social media team. Using an integrated, process-oriented setup where tasks are strategized with a project management service like Basecamp, and team conversations flow through (and are captured) within an email collaboration tool like Grexit, the resulting synergies are far superior to individual outcomes.
Don’t take my word on why teamwork can be so awesome for your social media marketing. Here are some strategies that have been found and corroborated across the inter-webs.
1. Collaboration Leads to Inspired Action
Since childhood we have been told that two heads are better than one. In corporate setups however, two heads often mean twice the professional rivalry, twice the jealousies, twice the politicking. A real productivity killer, or so you would imagine.
Emily Amanatullah, from the McCombs School of Business, coauthored a study with Francis Flynn of Stanford University, on the impact of high performers on the performance of those working with them.
Amanatullah and Flynn studied the performance of regular golfers in the presence of golfing stars and found that the mere presence of a high performer, inspired the average Joes to put in that extra bit of effort and produce better results. This inspired performance does not get left behind on the golfing greens.
The duo found that even in the office, high performers raise the bar, motivating team mates to do better. Weaker individuals emulate the stars and learn tips and tricks from them thus increasing overall productivity of the team. The catch here is that when star performers are in direct competition with their lesser gifted colleagues, they end up psyching out the latter.
Have a social media queen bee on your team? Someone with thousands of followers on Twitter, a diva with her own guest boards across Pinterest? Chances are, the rest of your team will be busy taking notes and honing their own skills on the job. The result? A team that learns from the best and helps your brand put its best foot forward.
2. Competition Makes You Pull Up Your Socks
John Van Reenen from the Center for Economic Performance (CEP) at the London School of Economics writes about the elevating effects of competition on organizational productivity. The CEP carried out a series of studies that showed that growth in competition led to improved and productivity. The best part? This spike in productivity continues as competition persists.
Another study by the CEP scrutinized over 3000 major innovations in the United Kingdom since the last World War. The results were telling. On an average, competition promoted innovation across the entire sample set the researchers had chosen.
How does this relate to social media marketing? Simple.
While collaborating with team members from across the organization, a barely hidden competitive streak is a given. This competition propels team members to go one up on each other by performing better than the next guy. The sum ends up being greater than its parts, leading to some real fireworks on social media (in a good way, of course!)
3. User Generated Content Connects You to Your Audience
Social media marketing is not about your brand saying stuff TO your target audience via social platforms. It’s about having a conversation WITH your fans and engaging with them on a one on one basis. This is the place to descend from your ivory tower, lower the drawbridge and allow your audience to come on board as co-creators, co-owners of your brand.
Research has shown over and over again that users trust user generated content WAY MORE than any amount of marketing spiel you put out there. Nielsen reports that “Ninety-two percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising”
Brands from Coca-Cola to GE to Starbucks are testimony to the soaring power of user collaborations and user generated content. A great fan tweet or image endorsing your brand does more to make your brand more relatable to users than hundreds of salesy posts ever can.
Source: Starbucks showcases UGC on its Facebook page
Want some numbers to bolster your belief in the power of user collaboration?
- Curalate carried out a study about engagement rates on Pinterest and found that over 70% of engagement on Pinterest comes from community pins, not brand driven pins.
- Social intelligence provider Syncapse found that 85% of brand fans on Facebook recommend brands they like to others.
- A study by public relations firm Cone Communications found that 87% of users agree that favorable reviews for a product / service confirms their decision to buy it
From asking for product reviews to creating photo contests, from asking users to tweet a selfie using your product to honoring users by showcasing the content they generate on your social pages, the options to bring the “user angle” into your social media marketing are endless.
In my experience, the best social media results are achieved when a crackling team comprising diverse characters comes together to make marketing magic. Be it that brilliant engineer who cracked a tough product fix or that colorful super fan who can’t stop raving about your brand, bring them on board to take your social media marketing from “satisfactory” to “superb!”