Staffing for Your Digital Needs: Part II

Here are some considerations to bear in mind when assessing your social media staffing needs:

In-house versus outsourcing. Does your organization have the staff, in terms of quantity and skill set, to effectively execute a deliberate year-round social media program? Does your organization hold a presence on and cross-post to multiple social media platforms? Interns can be an excellent resource for short- and medium-term social media support. If your internal staffing options are few and interns aren’t an option, consider outsourcing your company’s social media activities to a company or consultant who specializes in digital marketing.

Time well spent.  In the months leading up to an event, many organizations devote a few hours each week to social promotion.  During the event, however, your platforms will require full-time attention.  Consider the skills of the person who will execute your social media posts. Individuals who are proficient in social media and who possess demonstrated writing and editing skills will execute your posts expeditiously.  Well-crafted posts result in fewer corrections and revisions.

How active is your social media program? Social media activity typically increases and peaks during an event. Are your attendees active social media consumers? Do you plan to aggressively engage with your attendees during the event? This will help you estimate staffing requirements to sufficiently monitor and respond to social conversations before and during the event.

Members of your social media team do not necessarily need to attend your event. However, they will need real-time access to you or your colleagues who are on site in order to deliver fresh, relevant and timely content.

On-site activity. Photos and video clips are an extremely effective means of engaging your social media followers. Engagement rates — namely likes, retweets and shares — are much higher for posts that are accompanied by a visual element. Designate a team member to capture meaningful photos and video snippets of networking events, powerhouse speakers and a packed show floor.

Who comprises your social audience? Think demographics. Does a large contingent of students follow your brand on social media and attend your event? Your online social voice will have to speak to attendees and remote participants, as well as your followers (whether they attend the conference or not). Does your event engage an international audience comprised of different time zones and cultures? Consider each of these demographics as you prepare your social strategy and plan for adequate staffing.

Dollars and sense. If you elect to hire an external social media support person or team, are their fees (including travel expenses, if applicable) included in your budget expectations?

Who has the last word? More specifically, who is in charge of the social media activities that relate to your event? It is very important to set clear expectations on which team member has the authority to make decisions when time is of the essence.

Meeting planners play a pivotal role in the success of the event’s social media program.  A planner’s voice is a valued contributor to social conversations, especially those that take place on site. However, with the myriad responsibilities and roles that the planner already fulfills, social media-savvy colleagues or hired professional personnel should take the lead in program execution.

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