While there is still some debate on the merits of social media (and I will continue to provide information showing the value) many have come to accept that it is a business-must. So if you accept that social media is a powerful part of an integrated business/marketing plan, how are you going to go about putting the right people in place to deliver kick @$$ solutions?
In the past two months, I have had the challenge, honor, and excitement of doing just this. I head up the social media strategy and operations at Hachette Filipacchi Media (brands include Elle, Woman’s Day, Elle Décor, Car and Driver, Road and Track, Cycle World, Premiere, Filipacchi Publishing, and newly announced partnership in Glo). I’d like to share with you, at a high level, my process and decisions that have yielded, what I consider, a social media dream team. Disclaimer: While I am employed by Hachette Filipacchi Media, all of the opinions expressed within are solely mine and do not represent HFM in any way.
The first step is understanding: 1) your placement in the organization, 2) the clients you serve, 3) their objectives, and 4) what success looks like – all independent of being an internal or external resource. The social media group should be an agency model – you have clients that own their own brand decisions and look to subject matter experts for guidance, recommendations, plans, support, and execution, but at the end of the day, the clients you serve own the ultimate decision of what is in and what is out.
When you have a solid understanding of the landscape and those you serve, then you can assess the requirements of the delivery team. Every team needs balance – it is not just about having superstars on your team. Case in point … US Men’s Basketball Team only winning bronze medal in the 1988 Olympics – a huge disappointment and under achievement given US domination up to that point. Team – not just superstars – a well balanced team.
If you’re looking for a well balanced social media team here are some things you should look for in the summation of all in the group (including yourself):
• Sound business and marketing knowledge and experience – all the cool social media tools and outlets must be integrated into the big business picture
• Experience taking product and/or services to market
• Knowledge of the target market you serve and ability to define requirements and segments
• Ability to define and implement roadmap and new supporting technologies
• Project/program management
• Ability to define the influencers and work directly with them
• Proven experience using social media to participate, engage, and converse with the target market
• Knowledge, conviction, and profound passion for social media both professionally and personally
• Analytical strength to define appropriate things to be measured and accurately do so
• Good balance of personalities – both soft and hard, but all driven
• Good balance of “research types” and “creative types”
When I look at the stellar HFM Social Media Team, I am extremely confident of what we will achieve and how, over a period time, we will produce measurable results. One of the key reasons I am so optimistic is that I look at each of us, and no matter level of seniority, I am positive that we will all educate each other. Each one of us has a different way we use social media. Each of us has used a diverse set of social media tools, some overlap, but certainly there is much uniqueness as well. While I am the leader of the team, I learn from each and every member. We rally our diverse perspective.
So I know, many of you reading this are saying, yeah, but Hachette is a large company. Reality check here … HFM has primarily been a magazine company. What do you think magazine companies have done in the past 3 years … closed many publications, had significant reduction in force, and are far from a spending free for all. But Hachette Filipacchi Media is committed to innovation and digital. You should think about this – consider the tough times and decisions at HFM and areas they are making investments.
What do you need to do differently in your business (not additionally) that will push you in a more competitive nature? The HFM Social Media Team is a team of four serving multiple brands and initiatives. Thus, like all in business today, we are a resource constrained team and a lean machine. But we have strong leadership that understands the importance of innovation and digital evolution and they are making some investments here (as opposed to other places). At the end of last year, I wrote an article “Winning with Social Media at Your Company: A Letter to the CEO.” Do you get it yet, and if you do, are you ready to build your dream team?
Make It Happen!