I know many executives struggling with the magnitude of social media opportunities and risks. I’m about to make them happy, because one key solution is simple: employee training. Below is a simple, 3 phase approach to prepare your organization for advances in the disruptive technology of social media.
In order to engage your employees in social media, create awareness. Many employees already engage in social media themselves. Therefore, the emphasis of awareness training is on what social media means for your organization. To do this, create a short, simple training for all employees. Include this in any new hire program. Thirty minutes should suffice. In the training, point out the basics, such as:
- Relevant social media posts on your company, brand, products and services
- Corporate policies (if any), relevant to social media
- What will get them fired and/or maybe promoted in social media
- Corporate pages or accounts in various networks
Once this basic training is in place, you need a means of sustaining that awareness. Therefore, you may want to place Twitter or Facebook comment streams on your intranet. If you have TVs around your office, consider streaming social feeds there.
You may have individuals with specific responsibilities in social media. These are often found in Support, Marketing and Human Resource departments. For these social media specialists, you need to provide more advanced training. You likely want a full day for these sessions and they should occur several times a year. Emphasis here includes:
- Education of the latest platforms, features and functionality
- How to escalate issues and to whom
- Case study examples of great and terrible social media practices
- Question & answer sessions for open discussion
These are also great opportunities for running practice fire drills. For example, what should each person do if they see a social media crisis evolving? On the other hand, what if a marketing campaign starts to go viral on social media channels? Ensure everyone knows what role to play, how to escalate and how to engage for greatest benefit to the organization.
Finally, you need to prepare your executive leadership team. Don’t push social media on an executive uncomfortable with the technology. Instead, find those already using it and bolster their role in the space on the organization’s behalf. If none exist and you’re pushed to use someone new in the space, pair them with a specialist who can review and provide feedback on content, before it goes live. In executive training sessions, focus on:
- Cost / benefit studies – including business impacts from social media success and failure
- Examples of social media use within your industry – especially by competitors
- Examples of executives using social media for the benefit of their organization
- Overview of people, processes and support available within the organization
Advances in social media represent a disruptive technology for just about every organization. Whatever your leadership role in the organization, these simple training programs can better position you and your team for success.
Question: What other training should a company pursue for greatest success in social media?