Live from Social Media Week: The Inner Workings: Staffing for Social Media

Throughout this week we’ll be posting on the ground accounts from individuals that attended New York Social Media Week events.  To participate, email a blog submission to

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If you weren’t at the Inner Workings: Staffing for Social Media, hosted by the New York Public Library, you missed a fantastic event. The conversation was interesting, knowledgeable, and even funny. It was great to be able to compare the methods, policies, and challenges between a large regulated organization like Citi, a non-profit like the NY Public Library, a start-up like ReverbNation, and a publishing house like Knopf.

My key take-aways include the below;

  • Brick and mortar organizations have been shaken by the recent changes in the online world and need to adapt.
  • There is no one right way to do things–it depends on the organization, your customers or constituencies, and your goals for getting involved in social media in the first place.
  • Even if your organization isn’t “ready” to be on social media, your customers are already here.

Ok, I must tell you that the tone of this event was set by walking up the steps of the New York Public Library and into the room that was used during the filming of the movie “The Day After Tomorrow”. What a beautiful building. I could write many posts just about what I’ve discovered in here. Did you know they have an actual Gutenberg Bible!? But enough of that…

This event was described as a panel discussion to showcase the different approaches for social media staffing juxtaposing representatives from companies in the private sector and non-profits, but it truly became a conversation between the panelists,  the audience, and all of the people participating via twitter.

The panelists included:

  • Susan Halligan, Marketing Director at the NY Public Library
  • Johannes Neuer, eCommunications Manager at the NY Public Library
  • Paul Michaud, Senior VP of Social Media at Citi
  • Jed Carlson, COO of ReverbNation
  • Mary Buckley, Associate Manager of Advertising and Promotions at Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Pamela Cortland, Associate Marketing Manager at Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Each of the panelists had great stories about how their organization handled voice and tone, policies, approval process, tools to use, inserting personality into the communications, and other topics.

The consensus among panelists was  that there is no one right way to do things–strategy should rely on the organization, the customers or constituencies targeted, and the organization’s rationale for getting involved in social media in the first place. Each of the groups represented had different ways of staffing from the 16 cross departmental authors who were trained to use the system (as was the case with the NY Public Library using Hootsuite) to the two people at Knopf who “are the department” within their area of their company. One thing that Mary and Pamela from Knopf did that I found interesting is alternate days of tweeting, so in addition to scheduled tweets they both had specific times where they could give their full attention to the conversations taking place online.

This event was great and from all the buzz I’m seeing and hearing, all the other events are as well. I look forward to joining more conversations tomorrow. You can participate in person, online, and even watch events through Live Streaming.

This blog post was written by Beth Granger, a contributor to the NY Social Media Week blog. When she isn’t helping organizations interact with the digital revolution and all the power it holds, she can be found tweeting @BethGrangerSays.