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#SSU2020 Speaker Q&A: Sierra Barter on Staffing a Social Media Team

By: Nicole Schuman

August 20, 2020

With The Social Shake-Up virtual show on the horizon, we’re giving readers and soon-to-be attendees a chance to know this year’s speaker roster. The Social Shake-Up cast is composed of marketing and communication professionals who manage social media messaging at top brands and nonprofits, from the American Heart Association to UPPAbaby.

Sierra Barter

Sierra Barter

In this interview, we introduce Sierra Barter, social media manager at AAA Northeast, who will be speaking about creating great social media teams. For a deep dive into social media content creation, strategy and measurement, register today for The Social Shake-Up, which is set for Sept. 22-23 (workshops) and Sept. 29-Oct. 1 (sessions and keynotes).

PRNEWS: Tell us about your social team at AAA Northeast—number of people, locations, roles, etc.?

Sierra Barter: We have four people, including me. A social media manager in Providence, R.I., who manages the team and executes strategy, processes workflow and launches programs and initiatives. The manager also serves on several social media committees.
A senior social media specialist in New Jersey who leads content and works with business lines to develop content to meet their goals.
And we have a social media listening specialist in Providence, R.I., who assists with content, and manages reports, distribution to business lines and an advertising budget.

PRNEWS: How do you write a description for a position on a social team?

Barter: Make sure it includes the basics (analytics, care, strategy, design, etc.), but also leaves room to grow in the ever-changing industry of social media and within the position.

PRNEWS: What qualities are you looking for in a social team member? 

Barter: [Someone who is a] problem solver and team player, with great judgement, copywriting skills, creativity (a must), experience with crisis communication and overall, a good, fun, nice person!

PRNEWS: What type of experiences are you looking for in social media staff? And how much experience?

Barter: It depends on the position. Obviously, someone who uses the programs in their real life and ideally, used platforms for companies or brands. A background in marketing or communication is great. But, even if you are fresh out of school, the experience of running a YouTube channel or social for yourself or a club—that counts!

PRNEWS: What type of interview questions do you ask?

Barter: What is your favorite platform and why?
Our demographic tends to be older—how would you reach them using social?
What is your favorite meme?
If you were a gif, what would you be?
Talk about a time when you messed up on social…how did you fix it?

PRNEWS: What advice do you have for recent graduates or someone who wants to transition to a social media position?

Barter: Get as much experience as you can—volunteer to run social for a club or non-profit, and study what others are doing (Instagram folders are great for this). Subscribe to newsletters/groups/accounts that talk about social. Use social and constantly be benchmarking.

PRNEWS: What kind of annual evaluations/goals do you create for a social media staff?

Barter: Our goals include account growth, content strategy, outside professional development and new initiatives to help grow social.

PRNEWS: How can you convince senior executives that social media staff are an important resource?

Barter: DATA. Always track your content submissions, revenue generation, your account growth—show that you are growing to help back up requests for additional  resources. Share testimonials on social with stakeholders, ask for a seat at the table to report out key takeaways,  always be pushing and be the biggest cheerleader for the importance of social.

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Nicole Schuman is a reporter for PRNEWS and The Social Shake-Up. Follow her: @buffalogal

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