The Lonely Marketer’s Guide to Building a Social Team

One of the best parts of working in social media is the “social” aspect of the job. You interact with a ton of fans and followers online and your colleagues/friends always want to know more about your daily activities.

If you’re a team of one, however, the warm and fuzzy feelings are often eclipsed by the weight of being the only person in the building that actually ‘gets’ what you do. There’s no one to nerd out on the latest platform trends with. No one to vent to. Most importantly, there’s nobody to bounce your latest GIF ideas off.

It’s tough being a lonely social media marketer.

The Hire Power

Luckily, things are about to change. You’ve been doing it all yourself for a long time and you finally got the ok to make a hire. But don’t just jump right into Craigslist to post your ad. There are a multitude of important considerations you need to keep in mind when building your social team. For starters:

  • How do you know who you’re looking for?
  • Where is the best place to find great candidates?
  • Once you hire, how do you ensure they will grow and thrive?

It’s crucial that you take your time here. You simply can’t afford not to.

The Upsides of Team Building

Before we get into the step-by-step process of how to make a great first hire, let’s take a moment to list some of the great things that will come from building a social team. Aside from not dying as a result of workplace stress, of course.

  1. Time is freed up to focus on improving departmental success
  2. You’ll have time to hone your core skills
  3. You’ll manage people and grow as a leader
  4. You get to help someone else develop their professional skills
  5. You can now say the phrase “divide and conquer” without rolling your eyes and making a “pfffft” sound

By the way, 1-4 are good points to bring up when you’re having the “I need help, let’s hire someone” conversation with your boss.

Your Guide to Building a Social Team

First, a quick caveat: make no mistake, building a team isn’t easy. It will take hard work, practice and patience.

When you’re finished here, check out this post. We’ve aggregated a bunch of our best blog posts to help you in your team building journey.

Step 1: Define the Role

The first thing you need to do is figure out exactly what you need from your first hire. For a social media role you’re going to need someone with familiarity of the major social platforms, an interest in marketing and business and strong attention to detail. Those are givens. Dig deeper into your needs for the role by asking yourself these three questions:

  1. What tasks could be taken off my plate that this person could realistically handle?
  2. What skills do we need to make our department more effective?
  3. What type of person would work well both with me and within the organization?

Answering these will help you land on the type of person you need and will help you create a job description that can be used to find qualified candidates.

Step 2: Find Great Candidates

Before you call your company’s staffing agency or even consider posting the job online, think about who you know personally that may be able to refer qualified candidates directly to you. There’s a reason recruiters love referrals above all. Not only do you get to avoid the onslaught of resumes, you get the added benefit of knowing that most people won’t refer someone they don’t think would be a good fit. A few referral sources to consider reaching out to are:

  • Previous supervisors or colleagues
  • An acquaintance or contemporary that works in social media
  • A trusted member of a professional organization like the Social Media Club

It may go without saying, but try to avoid hiring family members or friends of the family. It makes for sticky situations if things go south. If personal referrals don’t work out, you have the traditional methods like job boards and recruiters to fall back on.

Step 3: Make an Awesome Hire

Hiring experts always provide great advice on interviewing effectively and we definitely recommend spending some time figuring our your approach. (We enjoyed this article from The New York Times)

The thing is, hiring for social is a little different. Use these questions in addition to your standard interview questions to help hone in on your perfect person.

  • Is your approach to problem solving more right-brained or left-brained? Social is a blend of art and science. Ideally, they’ll answer this question with “a little of both.”
  • What do you do to advance your knowledge of social media marketing? You’re looking for an avid consumer of social media marketing news, trends and best practices. Bonus points if the candidate likes to learn about related fields such as SEO, digital marketing and traditional advertising. This goes a long way in the next step.

Step 4: Grow Skillsets & Increase Responsibilities

Congratulations, you found your first hire. You figured out what you wanted in an employee and went for it. Now it’s time to make sure they thrive.

In 2016, Gallup released a report that highlighted how 87% of millennials say development is important in their job. Seeing as how you’re probably hiring someone under 35 for a position in social media, this is a good place to start.

Growing a skillset is a two-pronged approach:

  1. Give your employee ample opportunity to learn conceptual knowledge. Encourage him or her to get into resources such as webinars, online courses, blogs, e-books and podcasts. Ask for a weekly update on what they learned and make an effort to discuss the topics in the context of your organization.
  2. After your new hire has the current role down, give them hands-on opportunities on important projects that are outside their comfort zone. This is how they will crystallize the conceptual knowledge they’ve been banking. Make sure to provide autonomy while at the same time being available to support them if something comes up.

After a few successful test runs you should be able to count on your employees to take on bigger and better projects on a regular basis. That’s the development they value and the peace of mind you need.

Step 5: Setting Expectations in the Organization

After you make a hire or two, it’s important to let your everyone in the building know your team’s structure.

For this, you can use an ORG chart. Microsoft Office has a simple walkthrough you can follow to build your chart in Word or Powerpoint. For efficiency sake, we recommend going this route.

This will help promote efficiency in communication and workload across departments. Plus, it delineates roles and responsibilities while establishing a clear line of authority. Update it any time your team changes so that everyone is in the loop.

That’s it, you should be all set. You have the go ahead from the higher ups, you have the action plan and you have the determination to find your first great hire. It’s time kiss your lonely days as a team of one goodbye. Go get ‘em!

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