The gig economy is booming with growth. People are discovering the potential of owning freelance businesses, and companies are recognizing the power of hiring a nimble team of experts. The way we work is changing before our eyes, and teamlancing is becoming the future of freelance work.
You may be thinking, what exactly is teamlancing? Well, it’s a term adapted by the Head of Content for ClearVoice, Justin McKinley, that speaks to the prevalent practice of collaboration among freelance business owners. Instead of merely outsourcing jobs, you gather a group of highly skilled professionals to build a team that is rooted in collaboration.
The concept can apply to all industries, and the field of social media is no different.
Contrary to popular belief and assumption, social media is more than just posting content. As an agency owner, I observe clients and brand leaders who are familiar with the personal side of social media, which creates a viewpoint on how the business side of social operates. Let me clear the air on this before we dive into the various roles that make up a #teamlance dynamic for a social media team.
The business side of social media is vastly different from the personal side of social media. From the algorithm differences to the execution features and platforms, everything is different. Identifying and understanding these differences will help unmask why the skillsets for social media can vary by freelance professional and focused expertise.
Discover the possibilities of a #teamlancing social media team.
Now that we’ve addressed the elephant in the room, we can dive into the teamlancing dynamics of a social media team. The primary reason for having a dedicated #teamlancer supporting your brand for one of these various roles involve focus and specialty. When hiring one person to manage all components of social, you’re going to have a generalist for many and an expert at one. It is inevitable. This isn’t always a bad thing, but it’s something to keep in mind while reviewing your options for your team.
Within a freelance team for social media, a business should consider having a #teamlance professional for the following roles:
- Social strategist
- Social media community manager
- Social creative designer
- Social copywriter
- Social media analyst
- Paid media strategist
- Project manager
Meet the social strategist.
The social media strategists are visionaries. They’re the ones lurking on platforms not to comment or engage, but to uncover trends and shifts in overarching practices and digital conversations. In addition to pure observation and learning, they are also off digital channels, unveiling the latest features, updates, and milestones to share with the team.
Often, social strategists are grouped together with social community managers. Although doable, this can diminish the power of this skillset. Social media strategists and social community managers can be an all-in-one-role, but one skillset will override the other because of the amount of time required to excel in both. This is a perfect segway to the next #teamlancing role.
Meet the social community manager.
When people think of social media management, this is the most prominent role that comes to mind. Brands and consumers alike think of the battles led on Twitter, the surprise and delight moments with fans, and the infamous need for growing followers.
Social community managers focus on nurturing genuine connections through social media. They proactively seek conversations that align with the brand while maintaining ongoing discussions with the community members that are already connected.
Because social media is a 24-7, this role has no “close of business” time. According to Sprout Social, lack-luster community engagement can decrease customer advocacy by 43 percent while active community engagement can increase it by 20 percent. There is never a moment when a community manager has maxed out the opportunities for engagement.
On any given day, someone can handle:
- General company or product inquiries
- Proactive engagement with potential community followers
- Customer complaints
- Crisis management (through the removal of trolls, spammers, or handling disgruntled complaints that are public)
- Seeking trending/relevant topics daily
- Suprise and delight opportunities to build brand advocacy
As a result of managing all of these things, many social community managers reside in this space of engagement more than strategy.
It’s hard to see the full forest when you’re so deep in the woods you can identify the different type of bark for each tree.
Bonus note: Please remember that followers are considered a vanity metric within social media. This means that the number of followers to your page can look great yet have little to no impact on the bottom line, conversion, or even engagement. It is very possible to have a business account that has thousands of followers that struggle to have a decent engagement rate. On the contrary, it is also possible to have a business account with 500 followers with a highly engaged audience. Maintaining attention on community naturally leads to growth in followers. Do not allow vanity metrics to overshadow the value of virtual relationships.
Meet the social creative designer.
Very similar to traditional photographers, videographers, and graphic artists, the social creative designer has a keen eye for designing content for each platform. They live and breathe the rule of thirds, appreciate the beauty of Instagram’s nine grid, and recite the various dimension requirements like phone numbers (when we had to remember them).
Sure, community managers or social strategists can find an image that enhances the power of your message, but social creative designers rely on the core principles of design and the aesthetics that consumers expect when engaging on social. They make images beautiful while honoring the visual needs of each platform.
Bonus note: The vast majority of social media creative designers have a traditional design background, but not all traditional designers are fully skilled in the graphic design needs and requirements for social media. Understanding dimension variations, video sizing for each platform feature, and audience expectations are essential to this role within the team.
Meet the social copywriter.
Within the writing profession, the first step to hiring the right person for the job begins with establishing the correct writing style required for the project. All writers do not specialize in the same style or genre of writing, and this is no different. A social media copywriter discerns how to intrigue and captivate an audience with a short attention span and a quick thumb.
They are storytellers that understand that copy for social media must connect to the story behind the image and the interests of the audience at the same time. Through this approach, the embody the brand archetype through brand voice and tone.
Bonus note: For brands that have a hard time identifying their core brand messaging or have a neutral-toned approach to branded content, the role of conveying the message on social media becomes difficult. It can reflect in low performance of posts and a disconnect from your primary objective.
Meet the social media analyst.
Within the realm of social, businesses are connecting directly with their ideal customers and clients. Before the era of digital marketing, the level of direct connection was possible, but it did not include the ability to have instant metrics and sentiment. Social media analysts live through the data and the story. For social content, data and sentiment work together, and without audience commentary, one can formulate results that are entirely off from reality.
For example, a post can spike in reach and impressions, and the data alone, which can tell a great story by itself. However, when looking at the comments and community sentiment, people may be expressing outrage about the post, ultimately sharing in dissatisfaction. This information can completely shift data representation and meaning. Social media analysts understand, honor, and stand by the voice of the audience.
For social media analytics, the numbers don’t lie, but they can distort the truth of your audience’s feedback.
Meet the paid media strategist.
In addition to immediate access to your audience, the power of social media resides within advertising. Social media advertising gives you the ability to reach your ideal audience through proximity and interest behaviors.
A paid media strategist demonstrates the power of social media in a variety of ways:
- Targeting parameters
- Retargeting strategies
- Pixel integrations
- Building look-a-like audiences
- A/B testing of content, creative, and copy
- Discovery of new information for personas or customer profiles
- Funnel conversion from social media to leads and sales
With social media advertising, one should always approach it with a learning mindset and the ability to adjust and optimize as the ad is running. A paid media strategist must remain curious toward post-performance so that they can ensure the best ad performance and the best cost per action (CPA) for the ad campaign.
Bonus note: Paid media strategists connect brands with human beings. Although the algorithms are automated and (sometimes) predictable, human response is not. If your business receives an introduction to paid social advertising with guaranteed results, be cautious. As long as the conversion involves another human being, your results can vary.
Meet the project manager.
A social media project manager keeps track of all the moving pieces for the team. From managing the completion of #teamlance projects to client deliverables and approvals — the project manager is no stranger to honoring deadlines. Rather than focusing only on the project deadlines, there is mutual respect for the team dynamics, which helps to improve communication with clients.
Bonus note: Here at ClearVoice, our #teamlance project managers are called producers. These amazing freelance business owners rally the freelance team together to see client work from ideation to completion and delivery.
Are you interested in learning more about joining the #ClearVoice community as a #teamlance producer? Check out our job board that outlines all qualifications and skillsets needed.
Invest in your business frontline. Build your #teamlancing social media team wisely and intentionally.
When recognizing the value freelance professionals provide to the decision-making process for your social media content strategy, all of these roles are unique in expertise yet equally important in producing exceptional performance.
If you represent a brand that is ready to build a dedicated #teamlancing structure for your content marketing strategy, ClearVoice can assist you in discovering the right team that provides better, quality content for your company, faster.
The future of work is happening now, with #teamlancing at the forefront of a new normal.