Social media has evolved into more than just a leisure time activity. Today, savvy employers and employees utilize social platforms as powerful tools for networking, recruiting, marketing and company branding initiatives. And while many companies used to forbid employees from wasting time on Facebook, they’re now encouraging social media interaction as a way of building lasting business relationships and even increasing revenue.
However, if employers expect staff to interact on social platforms in a professional capacity, they also need to train employees in how to do it. After all, while employees may be well-versed in social media lingo, they’re not always as adept at conducting themselves in a professional manner outside of work.
Below are some of the most important topics to cover when training employees on social media.
Social media platforms
The first place to start? Training employees on the ins and outs of each of social media platforms your company uses. At the very least, these should include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, but you may include others like Pinterest or Instagram, depending on your business needs.
Training should include the basics, like setting up accounts, creating profiles and posting updates. Remember that not all employees are social media savvy, and each employee is likely coming to the table with a different level of expertise. Training will enable them to become brand ambassadors for your company on any platform, as well as empower them to be more confident and effective in what they share.
After covering the basics, train employees on time-saving features and tricks, such as setting up scheduled posts and automatic cross-posting on multiple platforms.
Social Media Etiquette
Social media etiquette is another major component to social media training, especially if you’re allowing employees to post to social media on behalf of your company. Depending on their role or department, employees should be well-trained in:
- How to handle client complaints on social media
- The importance of responding to interactions within a reasonable time period
- When to take a conversation off-line
- How to avid common social media pitfalls
- Respecting copyright and trademark policies
- Identifying themselves as a representative of the company, including their name, the company name and their title in all online posts
The training should also include specific examples of both good practices and bad ones. In addition, provide training that helps them define the company’s audience and target demographics and the type of content that this audience is looking for. This prevents employees from posting irrelevant content that can actually turn customers and potential customers off.
Another thing to think about? If employees are engaging in social media advocacy – posting about your company from their personal accounts – make sure their accounts pass the test of professionalism. Have employees go over their personal profiles to make sure they don’t reflect badly on your company in any way.
The biggest part of social media training is communicating your company’s standards to employees. This part of training will ideally occur during every new hire’s on-boarding process, but may also be part of an annual refresher course for all employees. Topics that should be covered include:
- Appropriate profile photos and content
- Keeping confidential information confidential
- What happens if an employee defames the company or says something inappropriate?
- Whether the company monitors personal social media profiles for company policy violations
Finally, appoint someone to be the company’s social media expert, and encourage employees to reach out to them with any questions or concerns. Encourage employees to ask if they’re not sure whether a post is appropriate, or if they’re unclear about what to do it a situation on social media.
Do you train your employees in social media? Do you think companies should?
Abby Perkins is Editor in Chief at Talent Tribune, where she writes about jobs, workplace culture, and HR software.