It is no secret that there is a lot of turnover happening the social media industry – just take a peek at the regular “People on the Move” updates on Jeremiah Owyang’s blog. This is only going to get worse as more organizations adopt social media, organizational structures change, the economy improves, and people in social roles mature (or burn out).
One key reason I bring up the growing churn in the industry is this: Social media and Community programs suffer when staff turns over… especially when that staff is the senior leadership that helped make key platform, policy and program decisions, or community managers that have built relationships with large swaths of the community.
I was talking about this with some folks at the eMarketing Summit in Portland last week, and the concept of a “Social Media Living Trust” surfaced. What if, as part of the requirements for social strategy & governance, senior leadership had to create a living trust document that outlined:
- A look forward: The 3-5 year strategic plan, with assumptions about market conditions, platform, staffing, funding and performance metrics.
- A look backward: The rationale and history behind key decisions like: platform, policy, team structure, personal, etc.
- An overview of most active / impactful members & subgroups
- Naming the person / team that would succeed the current team, and assume stewardship of the community / social program?