With companies rising and falling everyday on the backs of social networks, managing your company's online presence can no longer be just delegated to interns and your boss's nephew who seems to be interested.
No, if your company has commited to maintaining a professional presence on the social Web, you need a plan to assemble a cast of talented and resourceful social media team members.
Set up your company's social media team with a clear leader. Your team lead should be someone comfortable with perpetually strategizing about how to build your brand and has experience performing the majority of the team's tasks. Whether responding to Facebook comments or reporting on your brand's competitors, the team lead will be managing several roles and will need to draw on previous experience handling online campaigns to guiding team members in the right direction.
With such leadership your team will be ready for inevitable surprises and the right leader will make sure the team has its head on the swivel for new technologies and emerging social channels.
The rest of the team you hire will make sure the team's manager can focus on quality performance by being responsible for implementing the strategies your new digital department identifies. This starts with some combination of three or four roles: creatives, curators, and analysts.
Your creatives identify the direction you should go and the media surrounding your brand. The creatives must have evolved from traditional copywriting, graphic and Web design roles to recognize what works and what's an overkill on social channels which usually require more compact messaging.
Depending on the workload, creatives share responsibility with curators whose focus is to create interaction on your social channels.
Curators serve the dual role of community manager, while taking responsibility for monitoring the Web for company mentions or other interesting content your brand can use or learn from.
Finally, your analysts are not to be overlooked because they will trudge through data your fans and followers create. Analysts anchor the team by providing and explaining valuable data with insight into how your target customers behave online, how to direct campaigns, and where to learn from mistakes.
In general, you want people who love challenges, have an affinity for customer service, and are willing to give input in brainstorming and strategizing sessions to keep your team improving. They don't neccesarily need to be tech wizards, but should be active in some way on social media and willing to learn and adapt to new channels.
Remember these roles are versatile and explore the talent your existing employees possess. If your budget limits your ability to hire a full team, there are free and premium social media management tools available which can help a small team carry the load until your company is ready for expansion.
Many people advocate getting the whole company involved in your role of bringing the company into the interactive era. While it's a great goal to have as many of your departments involved in social media as possible, their function is mostly as brand ambassadors. This should not be confused with your social media team's function which is composed of people dedicated to creating, fine-tuning and delivering your brand's messaging to customers.