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Social Media Staffing and Budgeting

After receiving a few questions regarding staffing and resources for social media marketing I decided to respond to these questions accordingly:

1. What are the benchmark metrics for budgeting a SM initiative? Include, staff, equipment, time and search engine optimization. At least what are the variables that will be in play as you create a budget?

2. What are the benchmark staffing needs for an initiative? If you want to do X you will need X people or hours.

Let me answer these first two questions with one answer.  For smaller and mid-sized organizations the key place to start is what social media technologies and properties do you want to launch.  If you are a Tech/B2B firm do you need to worry about FourSquare? Most likely not.  If you are a B2C firm do you need a SlideShare account? Probably not.

Then make a list of the properties you need and model the time it will take to produce and maintain them.  Typically a standard platform with a blog, Facebook fan page, Twitter account, SlideShare account, YouTube channel, Flickr and LinkedIn profile page will require a full time social media manager who develops and gathers content, writes and publishes tweets and posts, monitors and moderates posts and creates a monthly report of results and ROI.  Keep in mind that this person is also gathering leveraging content (articles, presentations, photos, videos) that have already been produced from company insiders and existing staff – so they should not be responsible for “creating” all the content.  In effect they are the company’s citizen social journalist.


3. What is a standard work flow model with Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, YouTube, etc.?

The key to producing a steady content stream is to unify the workflow for all your properties and create social conversations and workflow around single pieces of news and valuable content.  For example a video might trigger the following workflow:

a)      Produce video

b)      Post to YouTube

c)       Post to Facebook

d)      Write a blog post about it and post to blog with embedded YouTube video

e)      Post video and transcript on website’s video section for SEO

f)       Add to websites Google XML video feed

g)      Extract 10 facts from the video and schedule 10 Facebook posts over the next 3 months liking to the video

h)      Extract 10 facts from the video and schedule 10 Twitter tweets posts over the next 3 months liking to the video

i)        Optional promotional/integration tactics:

a.       Add video link in blog to company email signatures

b.      Drop a press release on the video and link to blog post

c.       Drop email on video to house list

d.      Embed video in banner ads

e.      Etc…

j)        Measure video plays across platform

k)      Measure leads/ROI from video visits on blog, site and social promotions

Now if you are an organization that wishes to have a layer of brand or legal compliance these items may need to be put into a publishing schedule so brand managers, marketing managers or legal teams can approve the content.  There are collaboration and workflow tools like SocialEye for this that I am mentioning in the answer to the last questions. Once posted, one must have off the cuff responses for moderation guided by a set of standards and standard operating procedures.  Sort of the rules of the road established by legal and brand management on how to interact with people in the social space.  For most it can be pretty simple – act like you are at a party but your grandmother and boss are there.  Be friendly and fun but well behaved and discreet. Don’t swear or reveal confidential information.

4. What are productivity expectations per unit, or person, or arena. For example: if your task is to create, populate and monitor 10 Facebook accounts or twitter accounts how many hours do you need each day, week or month.

On average, between creating and gathering content, writing tweets and posts, moderating and responding to comments and producing monthly reports one could easily spend on average 30 to 90 minutes per day per Facebook page and up to 30 minutes per day on a Twitter account.  Clearly time goes as your fan and follower base grows the frequency of posts increase.  Also this person should be looking for ways to incorporate and integrate social media into marketing programs that already exists. So 10 to 20 hours a month should be allotted to strategy and integration tactics development as well as special content development. So if you are managing 10 Facebook accounts and many other properties you will need a couple of hands on people and a manager/strategist over them tying everything together.

5. What are the advantages and disadvantages to populating with videos? How do the costs and monitoring requirements change?

Video is always great content since it can trigger social activity as listed in the above workflow and is easy to share with Facebook and Twitter sharing buttons.  However, it is not the only thing a company should be doing.  Video should always be part of the mix along with photos, infographics, white papers, fact sheets, studies, checklists, coupons, articles, blog posts and other content being produced by your organization and other media outlets and bloggers.  It can also get expensive and time consuming if you want to be pushing a steady stream of high quality interesting content.  If you are setup with the right equipment (a basic video camera and laptop) and you are willing to push low production value/casual video content you can certainly up the volume and frequency of video content you push.  In most cases, to successfully produce a regular and ongoing video in the style of a “vlog” (or video blog) you need a very interesting personality or luminary who is prepared to produce regular segments.

A famous example of Video Blogging is Gary Vaynerchuk’s Wine Library TV.  He has produced nearly a thousand videos and while the production value of the videos are low – the informational value of the videos is very high for wine lovers.  So he has a huge following and his Vlog and social media tactics drives his wine business.  So any company that represents a facet of life, business and consumerism can own a space by creating on ongoing stream of valuable video content – but the key here is “ongoing.”

Through Gary’s videos he has organically (in other words without advertising) and garnered over 35,000 Facebook fans, 850,000 Twitter followers and has generated millions of video views.

See Gary’s:

Vlog: http://tv.winelibrary.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/garyvee

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/winelibrarytv

6. What are the suggested investments in equipment and software needed for various initiatives?

If you are dong video clearly you will want a good camcorder (or good web cam), a good mike input so your sound is clear, either basic video editing software that comes with the recorder or something nicer like Premier, a powerful laptop and of course a YouTube channel. Camptasia is good for turning PowerPoint decks into videos too.

As for managing social media content production and collaboration, workflow, monitoring and measurement there are a number of tools and technologies.  There are things like CoTweet and Hoot Suite that are on the lower end of the spectrum and more robust end to end social media management tools like the one we (Overdrive Interactive) developed SocialEye.com.  If you want to measure the levels of chatter and buzz out there around your brand you can use tools like Radian6.

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