Today, we’re discussing how to build your perfect social media content team. The whole point of having this team is so that your time on social is converting to more leads, more relationships, and increased revenue.
There are two traditional methods for handling content strategy. Most people either go the DIY route or hire an agency, but there are massive challenges with both of these. The good news is that there is a far better option.
But first, let’s dive in and discuss the challenges of each of these. When it comes to DIY, there are so many platforms and the best practices are always changing. Even if you are trying to master one platform, that’s pretty time-consuming, and then you’re looking at Facebook, Instagram business page, personal page…
Do you do Tik Tok? Do you do stories, lives, YouTube, a blog? There’s so much content to create and to populate and you end up juggling so many things between posting and engaging. The whole thing takes up a lot of time. And ultimately, it’s taking you away from your world-changing skills, right? This is why it’s not smart to do it yourself.
Also, did I mention that it’s a waste of time? Your time is so valuable! Now let’s talk about the pitfalls of hiring an agency. I know these because I didn’t come from the world of agencies; I come from the world of lead generation. I worked closely with an entrepreneur, and at first, I didn’t know much about the world of agencies at all.
But here is what I learned about them: Generally when you’re trying to hire an agency for social, they limit the number of platforms they handle to three. Some of them will do more, but these are general social agency guidelines. On top of that, they’re usually focused on vanity metrics (follower count, number of likes, engagement, etc.), but they’re using a different framework. They’re looking at social media growth instead of lead generation or revenue. In addition, they also tend to have a higher price point because of the agency overhead. We’ll dive more into that specific point in a bit.
Lastly, it takes a while to nail your voice, aesthetic and messaging. When you’re working with an agency, there’s a learning curve, a lag. It is slower for changes to happen because most of what you see when you’re working with an agency is prescheduled content. So, when you want to talk to them, you’re conversing with your sales rep or your account manager. The problem with this is that they’re not the ones making the changes to your content plan, and that’s when things get a bit bureaucratic.
Ultimately, hiring an agency can still be a waste of your time because so much of it is not in your control, but needs your attention for best results. The most hindering aspect of agencies is that they don’t do lead generation (and I’m sure they’re not happy about me sharing this with you). But it’s true: They’re not lead-generation agencies. That’s the whole issue. They never generate enough leads. So what’s the alternative?
Insourcing. The technical definition of insourcing is “handling something in-house that used to be outsourced”, but I call it “building your own in-house dream team”. Now, there are some things you need to consider if you go this route. First, you have to figure out who you’re bringing on board if you’re hiring for your social media content team.
Putting Together a Social Media Content Team
Let’s talk about the area where most people mess up: the fine details of hiring. When it comes to social hiring, there are three different types of hires with three different levels of pay.
This is something that no one is talking about, which is why there’s so much room for error. The first- and most important- a piece of your dream team is the strategist, who holds the highest-level pay rate of your social team. This is the person who’s connecting all the dots and creating the overall plan. They are visionary, staying 10 steps ahead, watching trends, making sure the whole vision is on track and then leading the course-correction if necessary.
There are so many moving pieces to social that if you’re not going into it with a full overarching strategy, your efforts aren’t going to be effective. The next piece of your team would be the manager. Often times, people think of hiring a social media manager- especially in a business setting- but it’s often a bit of a misnomer. The role they are actually thinking of fulfilling is that of a strategist. The manager is the one who bridges the role between the strategist and the implementer. Because of this, the manager isn’t always necessary. It depends on the number of platforms you’re working with or the size of your business.
You may only have a need for a strategist and implementer. But you should also know that this managerial position can be absorbed by someone else within your organization. Perhaps you already have a position similar to a brand manager or CMO that would set you up for a smooth transition. The bottom line is that managers are great with checks and balances, adherence to systems, and have great general overall knowledge. That makes them a valuable asset to your team.
The third piece to your in-house dream team is the implementer. The implementer is the one who actually does it. This role is obviously important because they execute on everything. So you want someone with expertise and experience, but this isn’t the big-picture thinker.
So now that you know about the different roles on your team, let’s talk about what this looks like in action. Each of these positions requires people with different personal strengths and skillsets.
Most people make mistakes in hiring because they’re trying to hire somebody that covers all of the roles, without even knowing there’s a difference. So if you were to hire an agency, the reason you’d be paying a lot more is that you’d then be hiring and paying for all of these positions in one. If you’re hiring a social media agency to get you more business, then you are going to pay a lot. If you find a cheap agency, you’re most likely only paying for an implementer and more limited platforms. For a great agency, who is going to actually handle growth for you, you’re looking at anywhere from $4000 to $7000 per month. I’ve seen less, but I haven’t seen great results in those cases.
Now, I’m not an agency. I just want you to know what you can expect as far as the financial outlay for results. So, continuing with our example where you hire an agency, you’re likely going to be interacting with the manager or account rep. If it’s a boutique, you may be in contact with a strategist. But you’re still going to have an implementer behind the scenes doing the work. This is why your financial output is going to be a lot higher when hiring an agency.
Now you can see why DIY is impossible. There are too many platforms. And if you’re the one trying to create the overarching strategy, it’s a poor use of your time. As an entrepreneur or executive, your strategy-mind (if that’s your strength) needs to be on other things. If you’re not strategy-minded, then it’s really a waste of your brain resources. And let’s not forget all the other aspects of DIY: tracking progress, implementation, engagement, all of that. It eats a massive amount of time, which is why most people are not generating leads from their efforts.
Smart businesses understand the weaknesses of hiring an agency, so they attempt to hire in-house. But here’s what goes wrong: they’re usually hiring a manager, and they want to pay a manager or implementer rate, but then they want the results of what a strategist and an implementer would give them. This is because most business people see the social posting and they think, “Okay, we just post on a platform,” but they miss the whole concept of the overall strategy, which is to make it generate leads.
The issue is that lead generation strategy is separate expertise and that’s where smart businesses continue to make mistakes in the hiring process. They’ll think, “Well, I can hire, hand it over, and then the results will come in.” But it doesn’t quite work that way, either. So they end up getting no, or few, fresh leads or discernible growth.
When I refer to “discernible growth”, I’m not talking about account growth or account size. I can’t stress this enough: the size of your account, likes, and followers are mere vanity metrics. And those are not what matters. What matters is generating leads. You can have a very small following and be pulling in millions. That’s not an exaggeration.
Now you know the problems with DIY and hiring an agency, so let’s talk about the solution. Well, you’re not going to hear this anywhere else, and it is the most cost-effective and results-driven model.
You create your own hybrid. To start, you want to work with a strategist to create your strategy. (Also, this is the sort of thing that you can use in several different areas of your business.)Larger businesses will often pull in a consultant for a period, knowing that the consultant is not going to implement it.
So you could look at a strategist from that same perspective, as a social consultant. Based on your preferences, they’re going to create your strategy, but they can also provide ongoing support and coaching. That part’s up to you. Once your strategist is in place, you want to hire an implementer.
This role is probably not going to require full-time hours, which is good because you need them to have time for community management engagement. This is equally as important as posting. That’s where most of us spend our time in real life. When you’re scrolling and connecting, that’s technically community management of your own personal community, and for most of these platforms (particularly Instagram and Facebook), at least 50% of your results come from engaging. So you’ll definitely want your implementer doing this.
As a result of hiring both a strategist and implementer, you’re going to have greater business returns, but also greater efficiency because it’s pure specialization.
How do you go about hiring for these two roles?
Well, fun fact about me: I’m obsessed with assessments. I love taking personality tests. When I created the copy for our website, I ran it through numerous frameworks to make sure I was targeting different buyers with diverse brain profiles and thinking types. I love these assessments for hiring as well. The CliftonStrengths 34 is a fantastic one, and we also personally work with MindfluenceRevolution.
Each time we hire, I have our final candidates take the assessment to see where they’re going to fit in with our business. When you’re looking to hire your strategist, you need someone who’s a dominant, visionary, strategic, risk-taking type. This person is going to be the brain of your social team.
With these characteristics in mind, here are the questions you should ask your potential strategists (in addition to your own hiring questions):
1)“How do you develop your strategies?”
This will give you an idea of what specific area they are coming from. For example, I don’t come from the world of agencies, as you know, and I also don’t come from a social media marketing background. I come from the world of lead generation. Social media and content are the tools I use in lead generation and I develop my strategies from an overarching, holistic view of digital marketing. They may have come from an agency or perhaps from under the wing of an executive, so their strategy development will be very telling.
2)“What content or campaigns that you’ve worked on are you most proud of?”
This will give you a feel for their voice, risk level, and creativity. Then you can see if that blends with yours. I personally have a high tolerance for risk, so my favorite campaigns to work on involve risk. If a client is more risk-averse, I’m not a good fit. For me, I want to be able to maximize my skill set for the client.
3)“Do you create systems?”
This isn’t a judgment question, as it’s not a requirement that they do create the systems. You just need to know if they’ll be handling that aspect, or if you need to have an implementer that can create them. Systems are extremely flexible. It doesn’t matter if the strategist, implementer, or manager creates them, as long as they’re being created.
4)“What sets you apart?”
You may already have this answer from them, but if it’s not clear for you, make sure you find out because the strategy is extremely unique.
5)“What’s most important about what you do?”
Everyone’s answer will be different, and there isn’t a right or wrong here. It’s just important that you know.
Now that we have the strategist covered, let’s talk about hiring the implementer.
First of all, if you were putting out a job description for this role, you’d call it a social media assistant, or social media intern (if you are a business that hires interns). I personally do not encourage hiring unpaid labor, and most interns tend to be, but you do have that option.
What personality types and characteristics should your implementer possess? Most importantly, they need to be consistent and stable. In addition, you want someone who is compliant and relational. They don’t need to have the same visionary and leadership qualities as the strategist, but if they don’t possess either of those in any capacity, you want to ensure that communication and training are doubled-down on. You may also consider having ongoing support for that person.
Here are the best questions to ask your potential implementers:
1)“What’s your favorite method for tracking?”
Their specific method doesn’t really matter, you just want to be sure they handle tracking. You want to have some kind of results for them to communicate with you. By ‘tracking’, remember I’m not referring to the typical vanity KPIs (likes, follows, etc.), but rather the results that are coming from their posts.
2)“What are your favorite tools for scheduling?”
While this is a bit of a small talk question, this gives you an opportunity to get a feel for how they operate. As an implementer, they need to function autonomously, while also following directions.
3)“What does community management look like for you?”
You need to know how they maintain and enhance a brand voice. This is the most important part, and also a piece that a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with. Larger businesses and corporations are more likely to have an established voice. Buta millionaire entrepreneur may not necessarily have a brand voice; they just have their own. Finding out from the implementer how they would go about maintaining and enhancing the brand voice will help you determine if they’re the right fit for you and how you can support them in sharing your voice.
4)“What are the content or campaigns you’re most proud of?”
This gives you a little insight into their creativity. For an implementer, nearly everything is being handed to them about what to post, in terms of the best ideas, but they’re still going to need to use their creativity.
5)“What’s the most important thing about what you do?”
Remember that you may not need to hire someone new as an implementer if you only plan on doing one or two platforms, or if you already have enough room in your team to absorb the role. Once you have your strategist and implementer in place, your base team is complete. The strategist will then come in virtually or in-person to do a deep-dive with you and your implementer. Your brand, what you offer, and what you want to accomplish will all be discussed.
This is where the entire vision gets developed. From there, you would choose between two options: the shorter option, which relies heavily on your implementer, or the ongoing-support option, which takes some of the pressure off that person.
The shorter option is where you take the newly-established vision, hand it off to your implementer, who then creates the system and acts on it. The other option, though, is where the strategist creates the system, then hands it off to your implementer, while providing ongoing support.
Regardless of which option you choose, the result is that you have fresh content, in your brand voice, being heard across all the various platforms on the internet, generating leads24/7.
I’m Sascha Schlossberg. I’m the creator of Guud Marketing and the 7-Figure ContentBlueprint. At Guud Marketing, we help entrepreneurs, business owners and businesses get more of their perfect-fit clients by empowering businesses to handle their lead generation in-house, with support.
My sweet spot- my zone of genius- is a content strategy. Everything you just read is the things that I do, and that’s how I support my clients. I work with my husband, our co-founder. He focuses on SEO and Facebook ads, with the same framework, to help our clients create their lead-generating system in-house.
To connect further, hop into our free Facebook group at https://facebook.com/groups/masterfulmarketing and let’s chat!