“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn,” said Ben Franklin about social media training never. But his message holds true anyway.
Most organizations use social media channels in some way as part of their daily business. Most often, it’s in sales, marketing or customer service. The use of social media technologies and practices is restricted to those who have the word ‘social’ in their job title.
But, if a company is to realize fully the benefits of social media, it’s not enough to have a small team of experts carrying the baton. Social touches every part of the organization and each employee should know and understand how it fits into his or her own role. Click To Tweet
Not every employee has the same learning requirements however. Depending on the job, training might focus on the basics, technology, best practices or business strategy.
Every single employee from the new intern to the CEO needs to know about the social media policy; they must understand how it works, what sanctions are applied and how to comply.
Basic training should position the social media policy as a framework for employees to make appropriate and smart decisions. What to do if your boss sends you a Facebook friend request? What if a customer starts to follow you on Instagram? The goal is to equip employees with the knowledge, and judgement, to make the right choices.
Social Media Ambassadors
Taking this a step further can help individuals transition from being just employees to being social media ambassadors. Providing deeper knowledge of the use of tools and platforms, or providing training in context of the business objectives, can empower staff members to use their own social networks on behalf of the employer. For example, a major fashion brand might provide specific training on Pinterest or a museum might train staff to take excellent quality digital photographs for Instagram.
Many employees, especially those in the front lines with customers, need training in how to use social media in performing their duties. Subject matter experts could benefit from social media training too. For example, getting product experts tweeting about new innovations and researchers blogging about their work will expand a company’s digital footprint. The goal is not only to provide these individuals with knowledge of social media tools and how to use the platforms, but to provide them with a level of skill and knowledge which will inform business and operational strategies going forward.
Executives will need training too if they are going to buy in. Often trained one-on-one, it’s important to educate executives about the business benefits of social media. The focus should be on social media’s role in the achievement of specific business outcomes. Are Facebook friends become paying customers? Does social media be attract top candidates? How could a tweet impact share value?
Will this be the year your organization realizes the full potential of social media? Make it so by giving the whole team, staff, management and company executives, the knowledge and skills they need.