Almost everyone is using social media these days, but many organizations are struggling to use it well. Some organizations have taken important steps to gain the social media expertise they need to be effective. However, just because you have high level intellectual capital does not mean you have an effective way to transfer that expertise to the people who need it most. Developing an effective social media training program enables your organization to retain its intellectual capital and systematically transfer it.
The Need For Social Media Training
Things change in all organizations. There is no sense in trying to hide it. Companies and ministries grow, expand, and contract. Staff will leave or be promoted out of positions that they were the experts in. Developing a social media training program enables your organization to grow and change without starting at square one again and again.
First things first. what is your social media team doing day in and day out? This includes the processes, the tasks, the action steps, anything and everything they do regularly. I would recommend having each staff member write up a three page account. Have them fill one full page that outlines a regular day of social media activity, have them fill a second page that outlines a regular week, and have them fill a third page that outlines a regular month. Now you have big, medium, and small picture information about the tasks that each staff member does to advance your social media strategy.
Many organizations have a social media strategy that is passed down as an oral tradition of sorts. Hold onto that if it works well for you, but also document the strategy meticulously. Do not just write down the oral tradition either. Define each aspect and locate some form of reference materials for each component of the social media strategy. This step will also force you to examine the substance of your strategy and social media objectives and find out what everything is really made of. If you can’t find any source material, then it may be time for a stronger strategy.
Build Training Materials
This seems like the obvious answer, but you need to complete the previous steps in order to combine the actionable processes with the strategic elements that justify them. These materials would include a document, manual, or perhaps video materials. They do not need to be excessively long. There is no need to develop a full scale social media seminar. What the materials need to do is communicate the functions of each job along with the rationale behind those functions.
Capture Expertise Through Content
This may be the most important and the most overlooked step. Almost every organization that is effectively engaged in social media creates content, blog posts, downloadable resources, guides, presentations and so on. Your biggest experts should be writing purposely about things that they are high level experts in. Have them slowly but consistently develop content that chronicles their expertise in small bite sized portions. Then compile that content and distribute it as the reading homework in your social media training program.
The only reason that mentoring is not the number one step is that it requires dedicated synchronous time that you may not always have. But every social media training program should include mentoring if at all possible. Often this will occur after the formal structured parts of the training program have been completed and the staff member has a foundational understanding of their duties, the strategy, and the knowledge base of the experts that came before them. Mentoring may include individualized instruction, supervised practice, observation, and discussion.
Above all else, your social media training program needs to be repeatable, updatable, and easily executable. It doesn’t need to be highly structured since social media is very dynamic. What is important is that you should be able to begin the training process with a new staff member without any great effort.
The ineffective or inappropriate use of social media is something we refer to as being socially awkward. If you’d like more information that can help your organization stay out of this category then download our Free Guide Social Media 101 today.