How to Structure And Staff Your Internal Social Media Marketing Team

No company feels like they have enough resources for what social media requires. Whether you have a large team at a large corporation or a small team at a start-up, you’ll probably find insufficient resources allocated for social media management.

The reality is that a robust social media strategy requires a lot of resources and specialized team members to keep up with the speed and complexity of the constant updates and changes on social.

Furthermore, it can be hard to get internal leadership to buy into the importance of building a strong social media team.

So, if you feel like your internal social media team is not optimally structured, you are not alone. As a social media agency of 16+ years, Ignite has seen all types of internal social media team structures and has narrowed it down to the three most common internal structures.

To provide insights on this, we recently sat down with some of our social media experts to discuss the three most common structures we see for internal social media teams and where each might be appropriate.

If you prefer to read along, we’ve summarized many of the highlights of the discussion in this post.

The “One-Man” Social Media Team

Regarding internal social media team structures, the proverbial One-Man Show is the most common, even among larger brands.

With this structure, one person is assigned to oversee the company’s social media channels. Their title is usually Social Media Manager, Digital Manager, or Marketing Manager.

As you can imagine, this person wears multiple hats and tries to be as versatile as possible. Since their role encompasses so much, they seek strategic support from their internal marketing team, but those teams are also stretched thin, so the appropriate support is hard to come by.

Furthermore, the in-house design team usually doesn’t have enough time to create social media content. The Social Media manager wishes to do more video content, but instead must rely on existing creative assets. They also must rely on the company’s customer care roles to manage community engagement.
A One-Man Show can succeed on social media, but most people in this role are overworked and require further resources to support them. They likely need to engage an external creative or social media agency to help them with this function.

The Mid-Scale Social Media Team

With Mid-Scale Teams, there are typically two or three people allocated to the social media role. A Social Media Manager is still at the center, but they are supported by one or two full-time or part-time resources.

One of the most common support roles within a Mid-Scale Team is a dedicated Community Manager. A Community Manager role is especially common on teams with a lot of inbound customer comments and customers who require a lot of customer care. The Community Manager can monitor social media channels full-time, and they can help offload some of the posting and cross-channel content optimization responsibilities from the Social Media Manager.

With this model, content production often relies on shared resources rather than full-time creative capability. The growing popularity of short-form video content, such as TikTok videos and Instagram Reels, makes it harder for in-house content producers to keep up with the demand for creative resources. Therefore, content production is one of the largest challenges.

Mid-scale teams often need external support in reporting, paid media, and content production.

The Full-Scale Social Media Team

The Full-Scale Team tends to consist of four to six internal resources, including a social media manager, one or two community managers, a content producer, an influencer manager, and one or two additional team members, such as dedicated content creators, analytics managers, or paid media managers.

This Full-Scale Team structure is typical for large brands with a lot of inbound reactive volume, requiring multiple community managers. This structure is also typical for large brands with multiple divisions requiring multiple community managers for each division.

Additionally, there are increasingly Influencer Managers within these teams to help manage influencer relationships and partnerships. However, these influencer managers are often split with PR and often are not dedicated full-time to the social media team.

Even within this Full-Scale Team model, it is rare to have a full-time Content Producer or Analytics Manager as part of the team. Therefore, even a Full-Scale Team may also be supported by a social media agency for tasks like paid media, analytics, content production, and more.

Key Takeaways: Internal Social Media Team Structure Types

Of these three common internal social media team structures, the two most common structures we see are The One-Man Show and the Mid-Scale Team. The Full-Scale Team is rare, except in large companies with vast resources or specific social media needs.

It is important to note that the Social Media Manager role is a common pillar in each structure. No matter the company’s internal structure, they always have a Social Media Manager at the center of it all. This role serves as the major point of contact for agencies, as they have their ear to the ground internally and are a key part of all social media processes.

Therefore, having a strong internal Social Media Manager is key. This role should be a senior-level position filled by someone with at least a few years of experience. They should be senior enough to understand the company’s overall strategy and be able to guide the company directionally.

If this role is assigned at a junior level, or even to an intern in some cases, we find that they will get input and direction from too many senior-level roles, and they will end up getting overworked and distracted. As a result, they won’t drive an optimal strategy forward and ensure that social is hitting everything that it needs to hit to get those key results.

After all, a brand would never let an intern manage their trade show exhibit or print ad in a magazine, so why would you assign an intern to be the sole Social Media Manager? Social media is an important platform for brands that can get multitudes more views than other marketing mediums, so it should be taken seriously and given the appropriate internal support and resources.

In conclusion, if your company isn’t getting ideal results and cannot support an appropriate internal social media team, it might make sense to rely on a social media agency, such as Ignite, for roles such as content creation, paid media, reporting, influencer management, and general strategy.

If you need help with your social media marketing, please let us know by completing the form below. We’ll be back in touch quickly. 

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