8 Tips For a Successful Social Media Training Program

Autumn Truong
Autumn Truong

Social media is increasingly becoming a required skill in almost any field, whether you are in marketing, sales, communications, engineering or human resources. And if your current job has social, digital or media in your title—whether at a Fortune 500 company or a startup—part of your job is to evangelize the importance and value of social across the company.

So, if you are a social media evangelist, how do you spread your wealth of knowledge across the company so that each employee can have a bigger impact on your company’s brand and top and bottom lines?

Here are the top eight tips for running a successful internal social media training program.

1. Build a framework:

It’s important to build an internal framework in order to successfully execute a training program. At the beginning, define your objectives for the program.

What is your goal? And what are the KPIs (key performance indicators) to measure success?

Create a committee of internal advocates to help drive the program forward and to get a general consensus among various stakeholder groups. It’s also helpful to conduct an audit at the beginning to assess employee needs and challenges.

2. Know your audience:

All departments in a company have different agendas when it comes to social media. Analyst relations efforts will differ from sales, and marketing will differ from PR.

Keep topics broad enough to appeal to a range of people. Specific goals and metrics may appeal to your community relations representative, but not as much for your CEO.

3. Appeal to different skill sets:

While some of your staff might be unfamiliar with the term “@mention,” others may participate in Twitter chats and Facebook polls on a regular basis. This is why we have three different training tracks—basic, intermediate and advanced—so that all needs are being met.

Taking the assumption that everyone you are speaking to be on the same skill level will leave you with a divided audience.

4. Bring outside perspectives in:

It is important to use a combination of spokespeople in training programs. This is a great situation to use your resources—internal staff members, supporters from other companies, people from your agency—to ensure that your staff gets exposed a variety of content and expertise.

5. Listen to feedback:

In most scenarios with employee training it is important to gather feedback and alter strategies when appropriate.

After every training session, this could be done with a quick survey to find out what your peers are interested in learning more about, what a follow-up session could include and where the holes are.

By allowing employees to be a part of the training and putting their feedback into effect you can ensure a successful program.

6. Make it social:

You are training your employees in social media, so why not practice what you preach? By creating a hashtag or a Facebook group and encouraging employees to use those tools to interact during training, you can not only provide a platform for internal conversations and questions about use practices, but you will also enablepeople to see publicly that you are conducting a useful program to further the knowledge of your employees.

Not to mention, you are helping people to start using (and understanding) the tools on their own terms.

7. Make it actionable:

When training employees in social media, it is important not to talk too “high level.” Maintain reasonable expectations and make your tasks easy to execute.

For example, by providing a checklist at the end of each session with actionable tips and tricks that people can start to implement right away, you will make social media integration feel less daunting and intangible to even the most basic user.

8. Make it measurable:

In the end, you’ll want to measure the program’s success. You will need to identify what metric you are using to do this, such as the level of attendance, employee feedback and actual implementation of the things learned.

This can be as easy as compiling a report in Excel to track your progress, or as formal and comprehensive as working with your HR department to incorporate feedback into an overall training report. PRN


Autumn Truong is senior manger of social media at Cisco Systems Inc. Follow her on Twitter: @AutumnTruong.

This article appeared in the June 17 issue of PR News. Subscribe to PR News today to receive weekly comprehensive coverage of the most fundamental PR topics from visual storytelling to crisis management to media training.