Social Media For Enterprise Startups: Part 1 – Understand How Social Media Fits into Your Company Structure

Social Media is the poor stepchild of broader marketing/communications efforts, and almost never a priority when it comes to growing enterprise startups. However, going to market with a smart social media strategy at play can truly advance your efforts.

Huh? That’s right; Social Media can help achieve your bottom line objectives right out of the gate!

Getting Started: Understand Where Social Media Fits into Your Company Structure

Understanding how Social Media fits into your overall corporate structure is critical. Many companies house the social media function in their Communications/PR office; this makes sense, BUT, understanding how it can positively impact and fuel other LeadGen/Sales and Marketing efforts is key. Here’s an ideal model:

Ideal Structure for Social Media Office

 

What this model shows is that Social Media touches on ALL of your key offices: LeadGen/Sales, Marketing, and Corporate Communications/PR. Furthermore, your Social Media efforts should ideally be guided by the goals of these offices and answer to all of them. This is the model that will set your company up for long-term success while also minimizing spending.

To reiterate—Social Media isn’t ‘silo’d’; it’s not a stand-alone proposition; it’s an integral part of your company structure. Social Media is a Multi-Office function—embrace the model!

Who’s In Charge of Your Social Media Office?

Now that you have a winning corporate structure in place, the big question is how do you staff your Social Media office? And how much will that cost? Good questions!

Typically enterprise startups don’t see the value in establishing an early-stage social media function and therefore dedicate as little effort and resources as possible toward the effort. That’s because CEO’s care about bottom-line results, especially when resources are limited. BUT if your office is structured properly and you can align your social media practice with broader business objectives, it’s worth the effort! But more on that later…

Here are three ways to go when building your Social Media office:

Assign an Internal Social Media Manger – Startups often assign the social media function to the low-man on the totem poll, that savvy youngster who already manages a number of personal social media accounts, usually a marketing hire. While there is obvious value in assigning day-to-day management to someone who’s already fairly fluent in ‘SoMe speak’, it’s sort of limiting possibilities for better success.

Hire an Agency – This is definitely the way many companies go when it comes to managing their social media. For many companies it makes sense to outsource this function as it’s deemed as more efficient than managing it internally. But for startups this can be costly, and not sustainable. When startups think of going to an agency to manage their social media efforts they’re typically looking at a minimum spend of $4,000/month and it can run much more. Hard to justify when your budget is hovering around $0. So that’s another reason why the responsibility either is ignored or defaults to a junior marketing hire.

Be a Social Company! – By this I mean, why not onboard your company employees to be your social media ambassadors? Here’s what you’ll need:

Social Employees

  • Training – you will have to hire a consultant (I can think of someone – hint hint ;-)) to provide comprehensive training on the various social media communities that make the most sense for your business, but let’s just assume that’s LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
  • Social Media Policy – if your employees are going to be brand ambassadors you’ll actually have to protect your company (and employees) by having an operational social media policy in place.
  • Strategy & Tactics – then you’ll need to have a strategy and tactics in place that your social employees can operate from. Again, an operational Social Media Plan can also be provided by the social media consultant.

The main reason why I like this model the most for startups is that at the day’s end, it’s sustainable! Any spend you make is really an investment in your employees and your business – it’s not just money out the door! (See my older post about this below)

Why Companies Need to Staff Their Social Media Office

Now that your enterprise startup is set up for managing Social Media, my next blog will explain how social media can fuel growth!

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