7 Tips for Training Employees on Social Media

Social Media CommunicationSo you’re ready to dive head first into social media marketing and enlist your employees to help. Great! Spreading your social media maintenance responsibilities amongst your trusted staffers is a great way to expand your conversations and add “personality” to your business.

But before you hand over the reins, here are handful of tips to consider. While empowering employees to manage your messaging online can be a positive idea, making sure your brand is represented correctly should be priority number one.

#1: Design Your Social Style

Just like everything else you print or publish for your business, your social media style needs to reflect your brand as well. Make sure your employees understand your company’s identity and how they should reflect that in their activity online. Defining your “tone and voice” guidelines is a key ingredient that will direct responses in all instances.

For example, a business that markets mainly to other corporate entities might want to pursue a more formal tone in their posts. A creative firm on the other hand, or a business that markets direct to consumers might consider a less formal, perhaps even playful voice in how they interact with clients. Knowing your audience is an important step to defining your tone and voice guidelines.

#2: Clearly Define Your Goals

Just like any other marketing you do for your business, you’ll want to first outline your social media goals and expected outcomes. Your staff will need to fully grasp the “why” if they are ever to succeed in the “how.” Some examples of realistic goals might include:

  • Elicit more customer feedback to be used to improve your product or service
  • Increase the level of customer engagement. Increase the number of customers engaged
  • Better pursue direct-to-customer advertising through promotional campaigns

The list goes on and on but the main point here is to define what’s important to you before tackling the day-to-day tasks. Your objectives will best define the actions your employees take in your social media marketing.

#3: Empower Employees Under Watchful Eyes

Let’s face it, no two employees are wired exactly the same so no two responses will ever be identical. That’s a good thing in creating a diverse brand personality in the eyes of consumers but this needs to be monitored. Clearly outlining your company’s tone and voice guidelines will go a long way in shaping the “rules” you expect from your social media engagement. So once you’ve trained your staff on what’s expected, turn them loose and see what they’ve got.

But remember, regular communication with employees at the beginning should be maintained. Encourage your agents to be themselves while at the same time reflecting on the corporate goals and objectives with their posts. We’re not looking to create mindless robots here. We’re simply trying to add voices to your marketing message that will improve customer loyalty.

#4: Set a Probationary Period

Along the lines of point #3 above, outline a “probationary period” for your employees and let them now the goal is to help them be best at what they do. This period might involve sending their responses to a department head or other staffers before posting them live. This opens the opportunity for initial feedback and direction which is important in the early weeks. Once the employee begins to learn the intricacies of your company’s brand message, loosen the reins and transition them into fully authorized social media responders.

#5: Set Social Frequency Expectations

Make sure that all of your social media managers understand what is expected in terms of response time and conversational engagement. Just as you wouldn’t let your office phone ring without answering it, make sure your employees understand what an appropriate response time is for posts to your company’s page(s). If your visitors feel they are talking to an empty sounding board they will stop participating. You want your social media to strengthen customer relationships so listen as much as you talk.

Make it a policy for your staff to engage with your social media frequently. And remember, these responses are public so they not only affect the one-on-one customer relationship but those prospects watching from the wings as well.

#6: Team Up But Elect a Captain

Even if you have several employees empowered to engage on your company pages it’s still a good idea to elect one person responsible for your social media presence. The last thing you want is to create too much “noise” that could result from several employees all responding to the same posts. Or in the case of original content, posting too often with redundant information.

Teams of 2 or more can easily moderate each other and sharpen each other’s skills. Sharing proposed content amongst many different sets of eyes before going public will better ensure quality posts that best support your company’s brand message.

#7: Expect the Best, Prepare for the Worst

No matter how good you are at what you do there is bound to be the occasional negative comment or unhappy customer. With the proliferation of social media comes customer access to public channels like we’ve never seen before. There’s not stopping practically anyone from saying anything about your business.

But it’s not so much about what the negative comments have to say, it’s how you handle them that’s important. Brainstorm with your team about how you propose to respond to all types of comments. Having a reaction plan for both positive and negative posts will go a long way in turning unhappy customers into lifelong, loyal clients. Managing customer feedback is the core opportunity social media provides. These conversations took place long before Facebook was invented, but now you get to be present and have your say.

About David Wittlinger

Gummy Bear addict. Web designer. Copywriter. Social Media Strategist.