How to Create a Social Media Training Program for Your Business

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As business owners, we’re always looking for ways to improve revenues and one option is to have a strong social media presence. For many organizations, social media training has become necessary for avoiding potential disasters.

And that’s because today all it takes is for one employee to do or say the wrong thing and its open season for communities/groups on social platforms. So rather than take the risk, it’s far better to train staff members.

Some corporations already have training programs in-house that teach employees how to support them through social media. But most do not for several reasons such as budget limitations or program management issues.

However, there’re plenty of training programs out there that teach people how to use social media as a tool for business growth. Some of these vendors provide team or corporate training too.

All in all, everything seems to point to one irrefutable truth:

Social media isn’t going anywhere and will continue to grow in importance as more consumers join plus participate on social platforms.

This publication is for anyone that needs a framework for creating a social media training program. Whether it’s for your company or a course, you’ll find that everything laid out here is very useful!

So should you invest in social media training?

Well, the short answer is yes! You should invest in training yourself and employees because a good understanding of social media can benefit your bottom line. With proper training, almost anyone can learn how to effectively use social media networks to their advantage. Including how to increase their profits with social media marketing.

Benefits of Social Media Training

  • Learn how to send traffic to your website, drive sales and brand engagement.
  • Improve consumer access to customer service with online conversations.
  • Learn to use social media tools to reach audiences and communicate with them effectively.
  • Training helps to keep employees on the right path and adopt messaging that properly reflects your brand values. Without training, you risk having your team’s behavior on social media negatively affect the business itself.
  • Educates employees on best practices, opportunities, possible dangers and requirements when using social media on behalf of the company.
  • Social media training empowers employees to be more effective in what they’re sharing. They’ll feel confident sharing news about the company, doing so in a safe and responsible manner.

Tips for Creating a Successful Social Media Training Program

social media chat

The winning combination for any employee advocacy program (the promotion of an organization by its staff members) includes the right mix of training, tools and content. Here’re some considerations for creating your program.

  • Start the training quickly – Orient your new hires on social media policies and best practices as soon as possible. This will pass on the message that your company gives particular importance to social media.
  • Start with the basics – Social media training needs a strategy, objectives and careful execution to be successful.
  • Teach the overall mindset first – How do you want employees to see social media? Keep in mind that social media is primarily a communication tool that should support existing marketing activities.
  • ROI is important – But that’s not what a social media platform is all about. It’s also about customer engagement, interaction, content exposure and running brand awareness campaigns. Make sure employees learn how to use social media effectively for brand awareness to attract and retain customers.
  • Make it an exciting journey – Design a program that’ll take your employees on a learning journey and doesn’t overwhelm them with a lot of technical stuff. Teach only what they need to learn at their level.
  • Manage your expectations – Different people learn through different methods at different speeds. Have a content mix that suits multiple learning styles.
  • Be specific about how social media should be used – Support your staff by helping them through their first attempts in your business’s social media channels. Suggest status updates often through an internal site (we can build a site for you) that they can easily access.
  • Create an internal channel to support continuous improvement/development – Providing support after the training can boost employee engagement. Make sure that there’s a way for staff to ask questions and share best practices with each other.
  • Encourage conversation and feedback in the training process – You must be willing to listen to employee experiences with respect to what is and isn’t working on social media. Then adapt based on the given feedback.

Creating a Solid Social Media Training Program

You want your team to use social media responsibly, effectively and productively. So here’re a few suggestions for building a training program that rocks!

1. Have a Social Media Policy and Style Guide in Place 

The first step is to ensure that there’s a social media policy in place that outlines what employees can and can’t do on social media networks. It’s important to instill these guidelines, even if a detailed policy on employee conduct already exists.

This ensures that all employees have the same understanding of what is and what isn’t appropriate for them to do when representing your business online. There should also be an existing social media style guide that helps employees create content that is inline with your company’s identity.

What is a social media style guide?

It’s the rulebook or guideline for how staff members create messaging on social media, which includes tone of voice and writing style.

One big challenge when creating a style guide is defining your company’s voice. Do you adopt a serious tone at all times? Is it okay to be funny at times? Can staff share personal photos on the company page?

These are questions that are often asked by employees on the front lines of social media marketing. But you can answer these questions with a detailed style guide!

If you’re a company in the business-to-business (B2B) space like food manufacturing, you may want to use a professional voice. But if you’re in the events business dealing with party vendors and people celebrating milestones, you might want to be relaxed and funny at times.

Know your core audience and have employees create content with that audience in mind!

2. Select People to Be on The Decision-making Team for Social Media 

Have a core team in your business plan and execute your training program. This team should include at least one social media strategist who is tasked with managing the company’s overall social strategy and training.

3. Build a Strategic Plan

Develop a social media strategy that supports your business’s goals.

Decide how to strategically use social networking sites for your organization. Incorporate social media into the mission, vision and goals of your business. Consider all of the possible benefits and create a strategic plan to guide your training.

4. Know Why You’re Training Employees for Social Media 

You need a strategy to make social media work for you. It helps a lot to have a clear picture of what you want to achieve and how you want to go about it. Conduct an assessment to determine the needs of your business. The evaluation should answer why training is being done and the goal of each session.

Determine your training objectives. While a lot of businesses are probably comfortable with the basics of social networks, it’s a bad idea to make assumptions about peoples knowledge.

Some of us are still not familiar with the basics of social networks like how to use privacy settings or reply to a post. There’s also a lot of confusion around some social media management tools.

Some people don’t know the difference between Facebook groups or pages and a lot of users don’t understand Twitter at all. Address these concerns by training your employees on the basics of using social media tools. Provide good examples of how tools are being used by successful businesses to encourage them.

5. Decide What to Include

Once your training sessions have goals, it’s time for the content. The objective should drive the content but you also want your employees to excel at using social media. So educate staff members on how to be capable ambassadors for your business and responsible digital citizens.

Include techniques for making their posts interesting and relevant. Realize that social media tools change and what an organization uses today could probably change tomorrow.

Furthermore, most tools can be used for multiple purposes. Your social media training program should include information on personal privacy, creating a good profile and the basics of being responsible online.

Another key point when it comes to developing content is the audience. The level of detail depends on who is participating in the training course.

If training is directed at employees who are tasked with direct engagement on behalf of your business, specific social network training should be provided. This will help employees understand your brand voice in each of those networks.

6. Determine The Training Frequency 

Some businesses may be hesitant to engage in social media training because of the speed at which the technology evolves. Also, changes to these websites happen regularly and sometimes without notice.

Best practice is to update your employees on these changes, not conduct another training session. However, some major changes could call for a training refresher. Social media education should be ongoing and evolve as the industry changes.

7. Use real-life examples

When creating guidelines, make them easy to remember. To better illustrate your key points, use real-world examples of other businesses, brands or personalities whenever possible. Preferably, popular ones with a case study for better understanding.

8. Provide training 

Regardless of your company size, you should have training. Training is crucial for making sure that your organization is prepared to make the most out of social media.

In some large organizations, new hires typically complete a week or couple of weeks of onboard training to learn about the company’s history, culture and procedures. During this time, new hires also receive a brief overview of social media policies. Employees can then take more courses as they’re offered/needed.

There’s no doubt that training your employees on social media use will help your business’s overall marketing efforts and objectives. In fact, you should allow employees to engage regularly through a social platform.

That way, training doesn’t end when the workshop does but continues naturally, where employees work together in a collaborative environment. A good training program doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.

It also doesn’t have to mean that employees take days away from business operations. What can really be time-consuming and expensive is when you leave the learning of social media to chance.

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Last Updated on June 12, 2019