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How to Facilitate a Remote Collaborative Process

This article introduces different ways to facilitate remote collaboration among coworkers and other stakeholders.
In most situations, you will be working with several people, often in different locations. Seamless collaboration will be crucial to the success of your strategy.
Whether working across internal teams or with clients and partner businesses, there are many challenges to overcome. This is best done by having a well-defined strategy.

Communication

Team communication can be difficult to coordinate neatly, and is one of the main causes of mistakes or delays in projects. But it has evolved in recent years.
Email remains the default business channel but can be unwieldy for large group conversations and isn’t helpful for newcomers who start with an empty inbox. An alternative is using instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Messenger. However, these can blur into personal spaces, which is not healthy for employees.
Slack offers a best-of-both-worlds. Sitting between instant messaging and email it has exploded in popularity. It offers cross-device direct and group message functionality much like WhatsApp, meaning that conversations and files can be shared within teams.
Additionally, because all ‘channels’ are constant and remain as a record of each project or team, anyone can catch up with previous discussions. Consider creating a Slack workspace for your next client or project. Inviting people to relevant channels keeps all conversations in one place, whilst facilitating group video calls, file-sharing, and integrations with other marketing software. You can visit the link to a video about the usage of Slack at the bottom of this step.

Asset management

Fortunately, the days of files being stuck on offline computers or corporate servers are behind us, with file sharing and collaboration becoming commonplace.

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Two services – Dropbox and Google Drive – have driven this change offering two similar solutions.
Dropbox keeps a team’s files synchronised across any number of devices, allowing these files to be sent to external recipients with a web link. This ensures that assets, sometimes large in file size, such as photos and video are accessible for everyone at all times.
Whilst Google Drive offers the file sharing capability of Dropbox it is not as user-friendly or universally effective. However, the service excels in real-time document collaboration, allowing multiple users to edit the same text document, spreadsheet or presentation at the same time. This becomes particularly useful where different stakeholders need to input. Examples include social media content calendars, budget plans and KPI reports where metrics from many different sources are pulled together.
If you would like to learn more about DropBox and Google Drive, visit the video links at the bottom of this step.

Approval and publishing workflow

There are several models for structuring social media teams and lines of approval. One of the most common mirrors digital publishing, placing an editor at the centre of a team of contributors as the gatekeeper of social content.
In larger teams, multiple people can be appointed to the role of social media editor, one for each platform. However, in most instances, a single person is sufficient.
The editor only has administrator rights on the content calendar and their role is to dictate the exact content that is published. Copy, images and videos can be approved only by the editor, while community managers might then do the actual posting. Like in other media, the editor commissions content from specialists in the team as well as accepting proposals for pieces of content. Either way, ultimately, the editor is responsible for defining (and refining) the content’s format and form.
Executing a strategy without creating reams of unnecessary conversations can be a challenge. The aims should be to centralise a “single source of truth”, i.e. one place for everyone in the team to go and find what is happening or has happened, when, and by whom. Google Drive is one of the most effective solutions to achieve this.
Alternatives include Asana and Trello. These project management tools offer a high level of flexibility, making them suitable for a variety of processes. Projects can be planned, updated, and each task can be assigned to a specific person within the platform.
There are different opinions on how to interact with these tools. Some teams prefer to keep it as simple as possible, only recording essential details. For instance, in Trello, these teams would only create a card for each piece of social media content, color-coding it based on whether it is a draft, waiting for approval, approved, or posted.
Some other teams prefer to input as many details as necessary to provide collaborators (who may be working remotely) with all the information they may require.
Whichever the approach, these tools allow users to shape their processes and dashboards the way it works best for them.

Implementation

Successful social media teams implement these tools into a well-structured process which all staff are required to follow.
Training will play a huge role in encouraging adoption. Different team members may be reluctant to undertake these additional tasks, perceived as extra work. It is not recommended to rely on people to take these up on their own accord, as adoption levels will quickly start to vary across the team, causing fragmentation, and, potentially, breeding resentment.
Instead, by providing comprehensive training and highlighting the benefits for each employee, the team, and the wider organisation, staff will be compelled to join the initiative.

Tone of voice

Key to a winning social media strategy is the definition and implementation of a consistent brand’s tone.
Remember that a brand’s social media tone is likely to be different from the core tone of voice as it represents the more conversational, human, side of the company.
When collaborating with others it is important to ensure that they are aware of the social media style guide.
This should define:
  • How we write with ‘do and don’t’ examples
  • What images we use and how we edit them, with examples
  • How we use our own branding, with ‘do and don’t’ examples
  • How we interact with consumers and other brands
  • How/if we deal with contentious topics
  • How we deal with praise and complaints
  • How the company would prefer that you declare your employment by the business in your personal social presences, though this cannot be compulsory.
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Understanding Social Media Strategy

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