How Can You Support Remote Social Media Staff for Your Small Business?
A remote social media team is often a more flexible and affordable way for small businesses to manage their digital marketing and social channels. However, creating an effective remote team takes some organizing, and you’ll need to support them in different ways compared to office-based workers.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the best ways you can support your remote social media staff.
The benefits of remote social teams for small business
Digital marketing and social media are essential for small businesses — it’s a great, cost-effective way of establishing a brand and building up awareness of your company. But if you’re working with a tight budget you might not be able to hire a huge marketing team to handle everything.
Putting together a remote team to handle your digital and social media marketing gives you more flexibility to find the best candidates within your budget. You can extend your search to anywhere in the country or around the world.
It also means that you can offer more flexible or part-time roles, allowing you access to talented marketing professionals that might not be able to make it into the office every day.
Plus, with a remote team, you won’t need to expand your office to provide them with space to work — they’ll be set up to work from home or wherever they choose.
How to support remote social media staff
While there are a number of benefits to hiring a remote team to handle social media, there are some adjustments that you need to make and challenges you need to be aware of to ensure that your team stays motivated and works productively.
1. Set out clear expectations
Handling social media could easily be a 24/7 job, especially if you’re dealing with audiences in different time zones, so it’s important to clearly outline what you’re expecting from your staff and when.
You need to state exactly what hours you expect your social media staff to be working. If you want to offer flexibility then cover the number of hours they should be working and the hours that you want them to work between. For example, they may need to work seven hours per day but they could work that anytime from 8 am to 8 pm.
For remote staff it can be hard to establish a clear boundary between work and home life, so make sure your team is sticking to their working hours as much as possible. Use a time tracking tool to make keeping an eye on working hours easy. You’ll also be able to see how long they spend on different tasks and where they have any issues.
2. Set them up with the right equipment
While your remote social media staff might not be coming into the office every day, they need an equivalent set up with all the right equipment at home. Discuss their home office arrangements and send them everything they might need to work effectively. This includes everything from a desk and suitable office chair so that they’re sitting comfortably, to a work laptop and accessories.
Think of the little extra things that are going to make their work easier. A second screen, wireless keyboard, and mouse are all essential to prevent them from hunching over a laptop all day.
And don’t make them struggle to figure out the difference between a mini display port vs thunderbolt — make connecting other devices easier by providing the right ports, wires, and docks. Where possible arrange for a phone call or video call with your IT department or provider to ensure that everything is set up correctly.
Providing all the equipment not only helps your remote staff to do their job better, it makes them feel valued, and it also minimizes any security issues that might arise if they’re using a personal computer to access your business’s internal files and documents.
3. Communicate regularly
Remote workers can feel disconnected or isolated from the rest of the business so communication is also key to supporting your remote social media staff. Put in place a structure for regular communication such as :
- Daily team meetings to discuss progress and workloads
- A weekly email newsletter with company updates and news
- Monthly company-wide meetings
Keeping in contact as a team is important to ensure they know what they’re working on and how to do their job. But you also need to keep them engaged with the whole business and understand the overall goals and targets so that they feel like part of the team and more motivated.
4. Improve your processes
Social media is a fast-paced role, so your team needs to be clear at all times on what they’re supposed to be doing and how. You need processes and documentation set out so that they understand their responsibilities and can work efficiently.
Use a cloud storage system to keep all your documents and files in one place that’s accessible from anywhere.
Set up documentation that covers your brand guidelines and how they should be implemented for your social media accounts. Outline the process for planning, writing, getting sign off and publishing posts. And include processes and template responses for dealing with queries or customer issues that might come through on each platform.
To keep things on track when your team’s working on projects and campaigns you need to use an effective project management tool. This will ensure you’re balancing everyone’s workloads and have a good overview of progress. The team will also have a good idea of how to prioritize their work and focus on the right things even if they’re working at odd hours.
5. Support your team’s wellbeing
Put in place measures to support your remote team’s well-being not only looks after their physical and mental health, but you’ll have a team that’s more motivated and engaged.
Even with regular communication, it’s harder to establish connections with remote teams, and they might not feel like they can ask for help when they’re struggling with their work or feeling isolated. Offer advice on the best practices for working remotely and how to keep a good boundary between work and personal life.
Check-in with your remote team individually on a regular basis. Organize social events, whether in person with the rest of the business or virtual team events. And share resources on eating well and exercising — you could even provide access to virtual fitness classes to help them stay healthy and focused.
Remote work is challenging but beneficial
While remote work is often a cost-effective choice for small businesses, there are a number of challenges you need to consider. By following these tips for supporting your remote social media staff and you’ll have a team that’s motivated, engaged, and productive.