Why Over-Communicating Matters For Social Teams

As a social media manager, it can be nerve-wracking to let people in too much. If we share our calendar, copy, process, etc., will everyone and their mom give their thoughts? In an industry where people personally have access to the tools and feel entitled to provide input, sharing can feel like an invitation to give unwarranted feedback on things. 

I get it. 

There was a time in my career when I probably held things too close to my chest. I had experienced the micromanaging of social media just for the sake of micromanaging (i.e., little trust in those who lived and breathed it), and when people micromanage for the sake of it, it can build distrust within social media teams. You start to think that anytime you share something, it will spark a wave of changes and possible fire drills. 

Here’s the thing, though. Not sharing and not communicating your plans will only cause broader issues internally. You might be able to dodge it for a while, but eventually, it will hurt you and the team.

Social media managers, here’s why you need to over-communicate.

1 – Social media isn’t about you.
Social media represents the entire organization and brand, so while people need to trust that social media managers are executing to maximize the platforms, it doesn’t mean that others inside the organization don’t need visibility. Social media managers need to be open to feedback when something isn’t right for the brand, and people outside the social team need to learn the art of giving feedback that it’s critical vs. subjective.

2 – Decision-makers need visibility.
Social media has become one of the hot items for many organizations internally, which often creates a sense of urgency and laser focus. There are most likely meetings where social media is brought up, and there isn’t someone in the meeting who lives the day-to-day to speak to the work. Because of that, leaders within the org need to be armed with the right information to answer questions, evangelize, celebrate the work and advocate for resources. If key decision makers don’t have the visibility on what’s going on, it will cause fire drills and frustration when they cannot appropriately speak to or advocate on behalf of the team.

I do understand that in an ideal world, someone on the social team is the one speaking for the social team, but the reality is that’s not always going to be the case. Arm the people within the org who can be advocates with the information they need. 

3 – It builds credibility.
Everyone who works in social media understands that social media does not “just happen.” If you have not been in a role where you are executing, it’s hard to understand what it takes to get from point A to point B. Over-communicating and oversharing is an excellent opportunity to educate on what it takes to make the magic happen and flex your knowledge. 

Instead of thinking about oversharing and over-communicating plans as a chore or something that could open up problems, reframe it as an opportunity to position yourself as a thought leader within the organization. When done the right way, evangelizing the work should build credibility with you and the team throughout the org. 

4- It allows you to shape the why. 
Social media work is public, which means everyone will see it at some point. Suppose you share the work upfront before anything comes to fruition. This allows you to give people the “why” behind the work — why the focus on this platform and not that one, why this creative direction, why this distribution strategy, why this initiative. 

When you can shape the “why” behind the work, it allows you to drive the insight and narrative around the work vs. someone seeing it in the wild for the first time and coming to their own conclusions. And when people have to make their conclusions on their own, it often causes more questions, more fire drills, and more work. Save yourself the headache. Shape the why upfront. 

On the flip side, decision-makers within organizations need to protect social teams that over-communicate. 

If your social team does a good job sharing plans and communicating, do not beat them down with arbitrary feedback, a million decision makers for “approval,” and process for the sake of process. You hire good people for a reason, so let them do their job. Protect your social team and their energy and ensure that you build an environment where feedback is given constructively and when necessary, not just because it’s someone’s subjective, objective opinion. 

At the end of the day, when social teams don’t share plans and strategies, it can distract from good work. Sharing is an opportunity to drive the narrative around the work, so evangelize and champion it and find those people in the organization who will help advocate for the vision. Sharing is caring and will help you and the team in the long run, even if there are some growing pains in the process. 

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