Managing Social Media from the Outside

Outside-Channel-Manager-girl-peering-through-blindsSometimes an organization needs help managing social media channels.  Someone to plan and post content to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other channels as well monitor conversations and lead the way when customers ask questions or need help.

In these situations, organizations might turn to outside channel managers. They might lack that skillset in their internal team. Perhaps the organization has shifted their marketing communications’ team priorities. Or they might want an outside organization to help in coaching to a new level of proficiency. An outside channel manager can look objectively at the current practice and help develop stronger social relationships, better content flow and engage audiences with a set of fresh eyes.

It doesn’t matter why the organization needs an outside channel manager. What’s really important is that you can step in and accomplish your clients’ goals as an outside counselor. So how do you do that successfully from OUTSIDE the organization? With a sound strategy, smart processes and good communication, you can manage social media channels from the outside.

Sound Strategy Is the Key

You may be taking over channel management in the “muddy middle” of a transition or after the channels have started to slip.  It’s time to ask lots of questions. What were the goals and objectives for the networks? What’s working? What doesn’t seem to be hitting the mark?  If there is a planning document or strategy that framed their previous practice (assuming it will be shared with you), use it to frame next steps. Set some interim goals and objectives. We had one client who had lots of great opportunities for storytelling and great content too, but their output was inconsistent and infrequent.  By creating interim objectives for the level of output on each channel, we could see an immediate lift in the conversations on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The Right Tool for the Right Job

Finding the right tool to monitor, schedule and comment is necessary for efficient management from the outside. It’s important to match the size of the clients’ network needs and budget with a tool that will help you create efficiencies for them. And the tools change all the time! What you used for a project one year ago may not be the right choice. Make a decision on tools early, when your client has social media top of mind because in 2-3 months, they won’t be as eager to make the expenditure.

Communicating From the Outside

You have to be creative when communicating from the outside. Creating simple client touchpoints is important. One way to do that is to share wins as they happen– maybe that Twitter post got a huge number of retweets or you’ve never seen so many comments on a Facebook post or Instagram photo. Just as important is creating regular communication to report metrics and analyze the program. Depending on the size of the project and the clients’ needs, this could be weekly or monthly. A regular group email to the entire team goes a long way to keep everyone informed.

We’re Just Getting Started

There’s so much more to share about successfully managing social media channels from the outside.  We’re going to break down the outside channel manager best practices over the next three weeks and look at how to onboard successfully, how to source and schedule content and how to look at the social channels with an objective eye.

We’ll start next week with “The Warm Handoff.”

What strategies do you use to manage client channels from the outside? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.