Social media has quickly become the glue in our digitally driven world; it’s changed how companies market their brands to customers, and how companies interact with customers.
Whether you have a marketing department, an intern or tech-savvy employee who manages your social media activity, you should have a social media training program in place for three reasons:
to insure that social media tactics match your brand strategy;
to provide a consistent voice on all social media channels; and
to protect your business legally.
Tackling a social media training program shouldn’t be too difficult if you follow these five key steps.
1) Institute a social media policy.
Social channels–including blogs, social networking sites, and image sharing sites–are a potential minefield for intellectual property abuse. So it’s critical that your policy clearly details what can and can’t be shared online by employees who post on the company’s behalf.
Your social media policy doesn’t need to look like a legal document. It should simply outline how your business and its employees will represent itself in a virtual social world.
2) Develop a training agenda.
Your training agenda should include subjects such as personal privacy and the basics of digital citizenship. Teach your employees how to write interesting, relevant and valuable online content that best matches your brand or business.
Be sure to cover when and how to respond to public comments regardless of the social media channel. Handling positive and awful or abusive comments can frazzle even the best social media manager. Knowing when and how to respond can protect brand identity and your business legally.
3) Teach employees how to engage.
There are a few types of content that no customer wants to see, which could dissuade people from being interested in your product or service. Make sure your company’s social media channels are broadcasting the following:
– Specific and clear content: Inject your personality into your tweets and Facebook posts. No one wants to read cold, lifeless posts.
– A “call to action”: A directive such as “like this page” or “download this coupon” is an essential component of effective marketing. Whether it’s sharing, commenting, buying or subscribing, a call to action tells your audience what to do with your company’s content.
– Conversational language: If you are your company’s content creator or manager, make sure you write in the same manner that you speak. Writing in an informal manner will reach more people.
4) Offer frequent updates to training.
Social media platforms are always growing and changing. So rather than holding multiple training sessions for your staff, have your employees frequently engage in social media best practice training sessions.
Consider using an outside social media resource to provide updates on new channels, trends and training.
5) Provide consistent communication.
Measure the results of your social media activities to provide feedback to staff on what’s working. Ask for their opinions on how to improve even more.
You should also conduct employee reviews to reinforce marketing objectives and improve social media management performance.
Dave Dronkers (ddronk@gmail) is principal of Dronkers Solutions, a consultancy specializing in hospitality industry branding, management, operations and social media marketing.