Providing optimum resourcing for social media is crucial, especially to an agency with hundreds of projects and staff to manage. I’m often asked as to how we define the size of teams for our projects and allocate the optimum resource levels for social media management work. Experience has taught us that with day-to-day activities, estimates for resourcing for social media management can be extrapolated quickly and easily using mathematical formulae and applying equations based on the type of community work required.
We plan for resource allocation by breaking down each requirement into a series of tasks as much as possible. Then we try to reduce these down to precise tasks that we can benchmark in terms of average time taken to complete the task. We regularly monitor our project delivery to update these average timings (which obviously apply to our specific operational processes – for each individual agency or client this may differ due to their work-flow structure).
Once we have these tasks and benchmark timings, we then apply a number of equations to extrapolate the total time required to perform them over a set time period. Each task may trigger an average number of consequential tasks such as escalations, client communications, or administrative tasks, so we also factor in administrative time to cover these.
This allows us to generate a final fraction of a person based on a pre-set number of working hours per month relevant to our operational structure. We also factor in multiple scenarios based on complexity and existing volume of UGC to manage foreign language requirements and length of work-flow, along with a variety of other criteria relevant to resourcing for social media activity.
A very simplified version of a relevant equation may look like this:
This process can be applied to many facets of social media management, analysis and reporting, content moderation, social media monitoring, influencer outreach projects and anything else that can have specific tasks identified and reasonably systematised. It can also be applied for more complex or less structured tasks based on past experience of time spends and broad assumptions, which would allow for a rough estimate.
For example, here is what a conversation calendar resource calculator could look like:
A more complex version of this process enables us to effectively anticipate resourcing needs and costs for social media projects by tweaking requirements as the volume or complexity of tasks grow. It’s also easy to reverse these equations to work from the starting point of a limited resource, i.e. a set number of team mates and investigate the most efficient and effective set of tasks that are possible.
We are developing this modelling approach to bring in a bit of science into social media team building and do our bit in social media’s path to maturity.
Do you use a similar model when calculating resourcing for social media work? How do you manage and plan for workload changes for your community team?