by Joy Ghose
Companies are increasingly hiring remote employees to attract top talent from across the globe. However, managing a team where members are geographically not in the same location can be challenging, especially when they are responsible for developing the company’s social media strategies.
Many companies know how to handle the communication and collaboration bit among remote team members correctly (like using Slack). However, you can use a few other tactics to manage a remote social media team better.
Here are five strategies for effectively managing a remote social media team:
1. Conduct Training Webinars
Successful social media teams not only have the skills to build your company’s image or engage with your audience on social platforms, but are also fully trained to respond to customer grievances on channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Why is that important?
Customer service has gone multi-channel – it is no longer restricted to the phone call, email or website chat box but has seeped into social media platforms as well. Today’s customer is more likely to voice a question or report a dissatisfaction through Messenger, Whatsapp or Twitter than pick up the phone or email customer services. According to this report, 90% of consumers surveyed had used social platforms to communicate with a brand directly with social media being their top choice for customer care.
Therefore, your social media team players must be trained to have sufficient product knowledge as well as the expertise to handle customer issues. For a remote social media team, you can provide training to increase product knowledge and develop customer handling skills through live webinars.
These virtual webinars should be interactive and allow attendees to share their experience of handling customer communication situations. Discussing and evaluating these situations could provide a valuable learning experience for all your remote social media team members.
2. Build Templates for Processes
A high-performing social media team follows well-defined processes to create and share content; collaborate and communicate. They not only need processes that clarify when and what message needs to go out and on which social platform, but also how to handle customers’ queries and complaints.
Remember, social media is in the first line of sight of customers who want a quick answer or a fast remedy to a problem. An in-office team member can always run across to his colleague in sales or customer service to clarify a point or gain an insight into handling customer questions.
However, remote team members don’t have that kind of freedom. They need well-defined and efficient processes laid out in a systematic manner which they can refer to when necessary.
You can do this by mapping your processes in a project management software. There are several free project management tools which allow you to map your processes in the form of task templates.
Your remote team member can refer to these templates when she gets stuck. Moreover, other departments can also use it to collaborate more efficiently with the social team to provide answers and insights.
3. Track Team Activity
Monitoring time spent on various projects is essential to improve your remote team’s productivity.
With your social media team members continuously logged-in to social platforms like Facebook and Twitter which are in itself extremely distracting, it can get complicated to enforce focused work schedules and adherence to deadlines. It is also impossible to manually keep track of whether a person is wasting time or actually working on projects when working for home.
This is where an employee time tracking and task monitoring tool can help you manage your team’s efficiency and prevent them from slacking off. An activity tracking tool tells you exactly which task and project people are working on – in real time. Moreover, when employees know their work is being tracked, they are less likely to waste time on non-work related activities.
This also reduces a manager’s need to supervise his team regularly. The time thus saved can then be utilized to do other essential activities such as planning, strategy, training team members and more.
4. Invest in a Media Scheduling Tool
Social media scheduling tools can save your team a lot of time by eliminating numerous calls or Slack conversations to discuss which posts need to be sent out and when!
However, it cannot be just any social media scheduling tool. The software should allow remote work accessibility – like Viraltag.
Using this tool, you can add your social media remote team members to one account. They can then submit posts and articles in the Drafts tab. As the manager, you can select, edit and post these articles according to your editorial calendar.
Moreover, since these tools make uploading, scheduling and sharing content super convenient, your team can automate parts of these processes and invest their energies in creating other strategies to improve brand engagement on social media.
5. Manage Your Freelancers
An increasing number of people are choosing to freelance, part-time or full-time. Freelancers now contribute more than $1.3 trillion to the US Economy.
Several companies are now employing freelancers in their social media teams, because of several benefits. Since freelancers also work remotely, there are no infrastructure costs involved. They can work from different time zones and quickly respond to social media comments and tweets 24/7. Moreover, employing freelancers lets you quickly ramp up your social media team strength when needed – say during a brand relaunch or Christmas time.
While there are advantages of hiring remote freelancers, you will need detailed systems to monitor their performance quality. Social team managers should review their interactions with freelancers more frequently – over chat, email or calls.
More importantly, treat them as full-time employees. Invite them to regular team meetings, weekly reviews, and even your off-site meetups. Making them feel like they belong will make them far more committed to your customer engagement goals.
Summing up, the key to managing a productive remote social media team is continual learning, reliable processes, efficient monitoring, intelligent use of scheduling tools and investing in building an engaged team. Use these simple tactics to manage your remote social media team and watch your social media performance statistics soar.
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Joy Ghose is Co-Founder of Startup Voyager, a blog about startup growth stories and a content marketing agency. As a former business journalist for more than 11 years, she has interacted with numerous CEOs and top leaders of global Fortune 500 companies as well as with leaders of several nations. Startup Voyager’s work has appeared in top blogs like Entrepreneur, Inc., HuffPost, Fast Company and Lifehacker.