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Building An All-Star Social Media Team: Think Like A Football Coach


The 2017 NFL season has officially come to an end. If you're like me, you are VERY upset and these upcoming months without football will be extremely difficult. And to make things worse, my New York Giants could not pull off their famous SB victory over the Pats - ugh!

Regardless of this season's outcome, all the shocking upsets and devastating player injuries, one thing remains the same: Head coaches guide the team & create the best team structure for success.

In today's Digital Marketing world, many things take top priority for driving success. For example, using data-inspired marketing to drive personalized customer experiences took off in 2015 and will continue to grow in 2017. Digital marketers are always thinking of new tactics to test out & which ones from previous years will remain in their back pocket. That back pocket may have limited space, so one tactic that must find room is social media.

2017 will be a big year for Social Media's continued advancement in Digital Marketing. Social technologies will further improve & brands will want to be everywhere in the social sphere. Hiring the right talent is crucial and structuring a team must be done right--so take my advice & think like a football coach.

Social Media teams can easily be compared to the structure of a football team. Although some companies may not be big enough to have 11 players on the social media field at a time, there are a few key positions that need to be filled. Take a look at the football & social media positions that I believe are critical for a team's success:

Quarterback/Social Media Director

The quarterback is the leader of the team. They call the plays to determine where the ball will go after the snap. They are considered the "voice of the team" being that most QBs wear the captain patch on their uniforms & make important game time decisions on the field. Much like the quarterback, the Social Media Director leader leads the social media team. He/She determines the path of each project and who will manage it, either him/herself or another teammate. Social Media Directors are the voice of the team when discussing progress, issues, and future decisions with upper management.

Defensive-Line/Community Manager

The defensive line or linebackers are generally the biggest & strongest players on the field. It is their job to stop the offense by tackling opposing players & either blocking or intercepting the football. Community Managers possess excellent social listening skills & know how to stop any negative brand mention in its tracks. Their judgement is key for knowing when to tackle bad mentions, block/ignore the spam, or intercept negativity & turn it positive by scoring a touchdown for the team. According to Simply Measured's Social Marketing Planning Guide, community management was very important for brands in 2016.

Wide Receiver/Social Strategist

Usually the flashiest player on the field, a wide receiver is fast and agile & uses those skills to escape defenders and catch the football. Wide Receivers are known for unbelievable one-handed catches, falling out of bounds but magically having two sets of toes still inside the turf, and most importantly scoring touchdowns. The Social Strategist, an important project manager on the team, is responsible for the overall vision of the company to potential prospects & investors via social media . They must use their leadership & creativity skills to make a company's social presence stand out in a positive & popular way. It is up to them to make the big, jumbotron-worthy plays so the company has an unbelievable presence on social media.

Center/Social Media Manager

Working closely with the quarterback, the center is one of the only players who touches the ball on every single offensive play. The center snaps the ball to the quarterback to begin each drive. Social Media Managers must be operations-oriented. They are responsible for many projects that either have strict deadlines or are ongoing. With their time management & responsibility skills, they keep the team on specific timelines. Without snapping the ball to the quarterback or director, the play simply cannot start.

Offensive & Defensive Coordinators/Social Analysts

As masterminds of the playbook, football coordinators signal the plays for the QB/defense to run. When a long week of practice ends or when the game clock reaches zero, these coordinators analyze film, notes, and team discussions to determine what did & did not work. Plays can be enhanced from analyses, stay the same, or be completely eliminated from the playbook. The Social Analyst is the key player for determining what/how the social team posts. With social listening & social/web analytics the social analyst has the proper tools to analyze a company's social performance. They are the mastermind of the weekly/monthly/quarterly social report and help the team, director, and upper management understand what is doing well & what is not.

Obviously a football team cannot compete with only 4 players on the field and a couple of coordinators on the sideline, it is not textbook. But, those players can compete for a business, big or small, and push a social media program in the right direction.

Ready to recruit, Coach?