How to train employees to use social media effectively
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So you’re ready to build a social following for your businesses and designate your employees to assist with the endeavor. That’s a great approach. Delegating your social media engagement responsibilities to your staff is a great way to expand your reach and create a brand identity for your business. But before handing over the reins, you need to make sure the staff is trained to leverage social platforms effectively. This will make sure that your brand is correctly represented online. Poor social media use can impact your business negatively.

That said, there are huge benefits to be reaped from social media. A report from McKinsey states that there is potential in social media to save businesses up to $1.3 trillion, owing largely to infra-office collaboration improvements.

Here are some of the ways you can help employees develop critical social media skills:

Create and deploy a social media policy Employees shouldn’t be forced to talk about the company as it may lead to disgruntled staff members. A better approach is to develop a social media policy outlining principles of communication and social media posting guidelines.

Such an approach would provide a structure to the staff, giving them the ability to speak naturally as well as feel comfortable when it comes to posting and engaging on social media channels.

You can use a tool like Buffer and HootSuite to scrutinize whether employees are adhering to policy guidelines in terms of choosing what to post, how to take business criticism positively, etc.

Integrate social media training into regular training programs Already training employees on other business tasks? Why not integrate social media training into regular training programs, too? Training is the ideal way to make it clear to employees that you are entrusting them to maintain an active presence over your company’s social media channels.

Social media training can be provided by recruiting someone who’s afoot of the emerging social networking trends. You never know when the next LinkedIn comes along, so it would be beneficial for your employees to have someone point out whether it’s worth their time, and if so, how to get started.

Also, the growth of e-learning courses in recent years has opened up employee training opportunities at reasonable rates. This form of training also frees up resources tied in conventional training programs. New online training resources through sites like Open Sesame allow businesses to take advantage of e-learning courses for employee training in various disciplines, including social media. Companies could offer beginner and advanced courses for major networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter as well as social bookmarking sites like Delicious and StumbleUpon.

Have a probationary period in place Introduce your employees with a probationary period during which employees work on developing their social media voice by first submitting responses and posts to higher-level management for approval.

With edits and notes from the higher management, new recruits will become familiar with your company’s style and voice more quickly. It is also important to remember that different employees may need different tactics to get going.

Take note of the whitepaper titled ‘Employees Rising: Seizing the Opportunity in Employee Activism’. It categorizes six types of employees and provides guidelines about how to approach each type.

Getting your employees to use social media effectively is not something that will happen overnight, but these tips will set you towards the right path.