This article teaches how to use a cloud strategy and technology (Google Drive) to collect and organize digital content from your team or organization. This content can be in the form of photos/images, video, and text.
A Few Words About Social Media & Content
Sadly, most companies attempting “social media marketing” are doing it wrong! And usually in a big way.
Hint: “digital marketing and content strategy” is a better term.
They either A) view social media as another advertising front – annoying and chasing away any potential suitors (customers, clients, patients, buyers, fans, etc.) with repeated posts about their products and specials; or B) distribute mostly meaningless (soulless) photos, posts, or cookie-cutter blog posts delineating the “5 Important Facts About ________.”
Oh, there is a “C” option that is happening A LOT.
C) Do nothing because we are confused and/or scared of making a mistake. It isn’t a good option, but it might be better than both A & B.
Blame the social media “EXPERTS” (BIG FINGER QUOTES AROUND EXPERTS) or the social media intern who, while adept at technology (tools) fail to understand the nuance of true content-focused engagement.
But this isn’t a piece on content strategy – that was an aside – my own personal rant against an industry running amuck. We’ll cover content strategy soon…. very soon.
And nothing against tools! Tools are important. In fact, Google Drive is a tool. An amazing tool and you should be using it! That’s what this article is about…. an amazing tool!
Gathering and Organizing Team Content
Many companies we work with are hoping to and looking for ways to get more of their team involved in their digital marketing, content creation, and social media initiatives.
We are working with a restaurant owner who wants key members of his team (restaurant managers and other personnel) to use their smartphones to get photos and videos from their various locations.Initially, they planned on emailing this content to a shared email address which would be accessed by the social media team.
However, email is an unwieldy tool for aggregating and organizing content.With email, copies of the same content ends up in the inbox of the various social media team members. There is not true organization and no centralized storage or workflow once it reaches individual mailboxes.
Additionally, email attachments are cumbersome and it can be challenging to send multiple images or large videos.
The Google Drive Solution
Google Drive provides an online (cloud-based) shared workspace for files from your computer , phone, or other device. You can also create files documents (spreadsheets, presentations, and other files) in Google Drive – cloud-based versions that you can edit on your phone or browser.
If you have not used Google Drive before, you NEED TO! That’s an order!
In fact, if you do not have a Gmail account, stop immediately, do not pass go, and create a gmail account now. Your Gmail account provides free access to Google Drive and the applications associated with it.
Whether Android or iPhone, the Google Drive, Docs, and Sheets applications are extremely effective! Install them on your smartphone of choice.
I cover Google Drive and creating folders in Google Drive here. It’s worth taking a moment and reading this primer.
Sharing Files on Google Drive
Before I go into how we specifically organize and share our team’s information, I want to briefly explain “sharing and permissions” on Google Drive.
You can share files and folders with the following permissions:
- Read Only: no changes can be made. The person can read, view, or download a file.
- Comment Only: the same as read only but they can leave comments about the file but still not edit the contents.
- Edit: the person you share with can edit the contents of the document.
You can share files individually or you can share them at the folder level. When possible, sharing at the folder level is MUCH easier to manage. Rather than requiring you to set permissions for each file, you can set permissions at the folder level and those permissions apply to every file you create in that folder. Also, if you copy a file into that folder, the folder permissions will automatically apply to that file.
Also, you can create folders beneath that folder – referred to as sub-folders. The same permissions will apply to that folder. You can then override the permissions on individual sub-folders as needed.
Google Drive to Collect and Organize Team Content
As indicated in the above linked tutorial, we create a series of folders for each of our clients.
Beneath each client folder, I create a folder structure like this:
…\Client-Shared (shared with client administration/ownership)
… …\Content & Social (shared with digital marketing admins)
… … …\Client Team Updates (shared the same)
… … … …\Team Member or Location 1 (shared with with team member 1)
… … … …\Team Member or Location 2 (shared with with team member 2)
… … … …\Team Member or Location x (3, 4, 5, 6, etc.) (shared with…)
Here is a screen shot of the Google Drive folder structure.
Each team member or location has the ability to edit/upload pictures to their folder. With the Google Drive app, pictures and videos can be taken and uploaded directly from their smartphone or other device.
This is the real magic. Smartphones are the simplest and fastest way to get timely content from your team. They can take several photos and videos – long videos if needed – and then upload them immediately.
The “Content & Social” folder is shared with the social media team admins or content publishers. They can access the sub-folders and copy or move files as needed for any social media updates.
No more time wasted looking through past emails to find an image or original video. Furthermore, with a little more structure, published images and videos can be moved into an archive, also located on Google Drive.
Below is a visual overview of the folder layout and process.
Conclusion – Get Google-ized!!!
The above setup and process is a great way to make it simple and economical for your team to provide timely content without requiring complex software or emailing the information around.
For our clients, we provide training and basic documentation. Additionally, there are always nuances specific to the client and type of content. But, even with larger clients, we’ve been able to effectively use Google Drive to gather and organize team generated content.
Add to that, Google Calendar, and we also create an editorial calendar and coordinate content distribution.
Making Content Matter
This article does not address what content you should capture, create, and distribute. It does not address the tone or voice of your organization. There are specific types of content more suited for each social platform. For the greatest impact, content should be customized to the intended social platform.
Additionally, questions such as – should we write/publish an unnamed corporate voice, as one or more individuals, as a company avatar, etc. need to be determined.
These types of questions are discussed and become part of the overall digital content marketing plan.… and evolve over time.
If you found this information helpful, let me know in the comments and consider sharing. Also, if you have an innovative way to use Google Drive or a similar technology for team collaboration, I’d love to hear about it.
We’ve used a variety of tools for planning and calendaring content distribution. Flycast Media has a useful Excel Sheet you can download from their site.