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Always On: 4 ways I secure resources for social every day, with Moment’s Brian Cason

Moment positions itself as “the outfitter of photographers and filmmakers.” The company hit the scene in 2014, offering camera lenses to attach to mobile phones. In just a few short years, Moment has expanded into a lifestyle brand synonymous with democratizing professional-quality photography from your pocket.

The company’s content lead, Brian Cason, ensures the brand’s social presence matches that reputation, with thoughtful content that seamlessly brings Moment’s customers into its brand story.

“Social for us is the heartbeat of who we are and what we do,” Brian said. “We want to be a resource for [our followers] in terms of the gear, content and other avenues they’re looking to advance their skillsets.”

Executing that kind of content for an audience that ranges from professional photographers to moms snapping photos of their kids requires a smart strategy. But the secret to Moment’s success comes before the planning. It starts with the resources.

Here’s a look at four ways Brian works every day to secure social resources for his team.

1. Build a content-first team

What scares most people about navigating social media is what Brian loves about it.

“My favorite part of social is that it’s always changing,” he said.

To him, social’s rapidly changing landscape means having fun exploring new ways to produce content and developing a distinct voice for every channel.

There are always new channels popping up that social marketers have to explore to determine whether or not using these channels is worth time and resources. Because staying on top of the latest is so vital to the content team’s success, Moment approaches the social-first mindset a little differently.

“We’ve never hired a social media manager or a community manager,” he said. “Instead, we look to hire talented content creators who are passionate about social, who end up running a social channel, so all of our content creators run different social channels.”

Recognizing the unique needs of social engagement across channels, Brian’s team adopted a content-first philosophy. They’ve split the team into three groups: one focused on paid acquisition, one focused on brand partnerships and an editorial team that focuses on organic content, including email and blog. The latter is where the bulk of their time and resources go today.

“As a team grows, you just have to start to break things apart because one person can’t manage more than about five to seven people effectively,” Brian said.

A Sprout survey shows that as social’s business value grows, marketers are increasingly asked to take on more strategic work without additional organizational support. At small companies (1-50 employees), 59% of social marketers say they work on a team of one to two people. At mid-sized companies with 51-1000 employees, 35% of social marketers work on teams of 3-5 people. And only 37% of enterprise social marketers work on teams of more than 11 people.

Marketers are no stranger to wearing many hats, but the work you and your team deliver won’t suffer if you implement the right team infrastructure and focus.

Try this: Whether you’re hiring fresh faces or adopting a fresh mindset, build or foster a team of multi-functional people who can take ownership of one social channel—creating content, managing the community, driving strategy and developing the kind of expertise to fully take advantage of platform-specific features and functionality.

2. Prove social’s impact on sales

The Moment team put audience engagement front and center in their strategy and found that as they developed trust with their social audience, they gained subscribers and followers. But beyond vanity metrics, the brand noticed trend lines between click-throughs and the revenue of those channels as their audiences grew.

“That proves to my boss and to our board that we’re spending dollars in the right place,” Brian said. “It proves to them that this is not just smoke in the wind, but worth the time and effort to hire more people or spend more money on a campaign because we know how much it’s going to return for us.”

With social being such an integral touchpoint for Moment’s everyday customer, Brian’s team has been able to leverage their community in different ways.

“We’ve run polls and Q&As on Twitter to understand what types of products people want to see from us in the future. We’ve used Instagram to understand what things are inspiring to people and run really cool Instagram story activations where we get to tell those people’s stories and inspire others to go out and do something unique that’s relevant to the brand,” he said.

Coming back to business leaders with this kind of community engagement has opened avenues for the brand to start conversations with customers in the kind of unique, personable ways that pay off. And that’s exactly what Brian and his team continue to do.

Try this: Don’t underestimate the power of relationship building. The trust you’ve fostered with your customers on social has value that translates to helping your company meet its goals. Tap your team members in sales for insights that can help you map the trends you’re tracking in your social goals to bottom-line results.

3. Educate on scope

“Bandwidth is such an important conversation to have,” Brian said. “Especially in today’s work culture where burnout is so popular, almost in a glorified way.”

Our survey found that team bandwidth and securing resources are two of the greatest challenges social marketers face.

For a content team like Brian’s, where each team member has their own initiatives to focus on, the trick is creating space to take requests from stakeholders who need content.

So how do they break down bandwidth and determine the value of their work? The Moment team recognizes the delicate balance of determining what they have time for and what they don’t. Sometimes scale and scope are dependent on the potential revenue of a new product. And sometimes it’s dependent on the time available in the calendar. In the end, it comes down to negotiating and educating.

“We’ve always believed in testing and learning,” Brian said. “That allows us to slow down and understand what it is we’re doing and what it is that’s working. We’re then able to take what we’re learning and apply it to a playbook for how we operate.”

One move in their playbook is templatizing. To establish good boundaries, the team templatizes the production of campaigns to give stakeholders a clear idea of how much time goes into video production, editing, copywriting, etc. Not to mention the scheduling and publishing. They categorize it all into small, medium and large campaigns, then use that guide to set expectations and execute based on the schedule and capacity available.

Try this: In Brian’s words, lead with wisdom. Help your collaborators understand why a project may not be a priority and detail why it’s not feasible given the time and resources. If a project is a no, don’t leave stakeholders high and dry. Look at the calendar together and ask, “When can we shift things around to make this happen for you?”

4. Create a data routine

More businesses are fostering data-driven cultures, and the Moment team is no exception. They look to the company’s annual goals and start planning there.

“Our team is looking at, ‘How can we contribute at a high level and what are we doing to make sure the company is looking toward those goals?’,” Brian said.

On a quarterly basis, they set strategic goals—defining success for upcoming campaigns, expected growth on certain channels, outlining tactical benchmarks. Then at the end of the quarter, they score themselves against those goals.

“We actually give ourselves a grade, “Brian said. “If we’re not hitting about 70% of those goals, we’re not doing well.”

On the flip side, Brian thinks if they’re hitting over 70%, it hints at the goals being too easy. To make sure their team is always striving for the best and not letting goals go stale after planning, they look at ground-level insights on a weekly basis.

Brian and his team track the metrics they’re reviewing using Google Analytics and specific UTM links. For example, they dig into how many sessions Twitter drove related to a specific campaign or how much revenue their YouTube channel drove for a given month. With specific UTM tracking, they’re able to feed those into their data dashboard.

“I manage [the dashboard] and the team contributes,” Brian said. “We can look at it on a weekly basis and see certain trend lines, what’s working for the business and what’s working for the content we’re making.”

Brian acknowledges that pushing creatives toward data-driven culture can be difficult. But he thinks it’s important that creatives have an understanding of how their work impacts the business.

“It makes their job more fun and interesting because they know they’re contributing and not just making something because they’re told to make something,” he said. “They can see very tactically how the content they’re writing or the photos they’re taking impact the business overall.”

Try this: Set a cadence for data syncs and automate them. If your team uses Slack, set a Slackbot or similar function that’s scheduled to prompt team members to share insights for campaigns or channels they own. Review it together during team meetings. It helps your team be more agile with insights, but more importantly, it gives everyone on your team the power of understanding and communicating data.

How will you secure resources for your social efforts?

Moment is an eCommerce company, selling products through various online efforts. But they’re only able to do that if there’s a thriving community that’s along for the journey with them. Making that journey compelling for the people who love your brand means building your team with storytelling in mind. Without a content-first philosophy and educational take on scope creep, the content team at Moment wouldn’t have the strong social presence their customers today love.

Are you planning to try any of these tips? Share with us on social or in the comments below.

*Since the writing of this piece, Brian has moved on from Moment. But his team continues to champion the structure he’s helped build every day.

This post Always On: 4 ways I secure resources for social every day, with Moment’s Brian Cason originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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