Although creating enticing content is an important part of using social media for marketing your products and services, simply subscribing to a online employee advocacy platform and scheduling posts are just part of the solution to the problem of dwindling organic reach. Without preparation and training a social media advocacy programme, which relies on employees to participate frequently, will fall short of expectations.
The planning and pre-launch phase includes the following steps:
- Carrying out a social media audit
- Reviewing and relaunching your social media policy
- Gaining buy-in from the leadership team
- Setting of goals and establishing metrics
- Onboarding of champions
- Establishing roles
- Content planning
- Setting up incentives and rewards
In this blog post, I am considering the last of these steps, namely training and looking at options for ensuring each and every employee has access to social media training that matches the role they have opted in for.
Social Media Training for Champions
Social Champions Roles
One of the simplest set of roles for a company implementing a social media employee advocacy programme is to have:
- Team leaders
The Admins have full access to the employee advocacy tool and are able to approve content and manage the platform, including the reporting.
The Team Leaders will be responsible for a team of champions and be able to suggest, approve and post content, which may all into one or more categories.
A Champions role is mainly posting to their social accounts but may also include suggesting content for approval. This will depend on the size and complexity of the organisation and the diversity of the content which is proposed and available for sharing. In the first instance keep it simple.
Types of Training
There are two types of training needed.
1. Training on the use of the platform
2. Social media training
Without both sets of training the social champions programme will hit a brick wall.
Options for Training
There are several options when it comes to training, each with its pros and cons. Online, live training in groups is both cost and time effective and has the benefit that each student learns from questions posed by other students. Online, live sessions can be recorded so that those champions who are unable to attend do not miss out. However, when I lead training, I favour champions attending live as they are more likely to implement the learning straightaway. Fewer champions are likely to watch recordings.
On demand video training on a learning management system is another option. This allows the content to be broken down into bite-sized chunks unlike a recording of a long training session meaning that it is more likely to be consumed. These training courses can include checklist, templates and workbooks. Unlike live training there is no immediate Q&A, although I always provide email support or individual assistance.
All our training is supported by on demand video training.
Face-to-face training can be carried out but given the time-consuming nature and the logistics it is not recommended particularly for champions across different offices or time zones.
One-to-one training, despite having many of the benefits described above, is time consuming and therefore expensive. In certain circumstances where personal attention is required this is an option.
All training sessions whether live or recorded, whether in groups or individually should be recorded and made available on video.
Training presents challenges for managers of social champions' programmes. Too little and you run the risk of participants getting lost or feeling unsupported. Too much, too soon and champions become overwhelmed. It is crucial to remember that most advocates are volunteering their time (unless they are in business development, sales, marketing or recruitment, when it is part of their role). As such delivering training at a pace which suits beginners, intermediate and advanced users is important.
Repeating training frequently embeds the learning. Encouraging participation where the training is applied is vital to the champions programme being successful.
Sharing results which are encouraging as well as providing feedback will also help.
Each social media platform is made up of similar elements :
- your profile
- your network (connections, followers, friends)
- direct messaging
Given the fact that the platforms allow you to post across multiple platforms and to schedule the posting of content, I would advise the majority of organisations to allow posting to all platforms unless there are very good commercial reasons not to do so.
Your social media policy will give champions guidance on what to post and what to avoid when it comes to sharing company messages to their personal profiles.
Results stem from high quality training
The success of your Social Champions Programme is a combination of maximising participation, crafting stellar content which meets your goals and providing every champions with the training on each social media platform which is suited to their level of experience.
I have trained and managed social media accounts for over a decade for both business to business and business to consumer companies in multiple industry sectors. Training requires knowledge, skill, patience and empathy for it to be successful. It also requires solid commercial understanding to appreciate the business benefits of employee advocacy in the context of an organisation's business plan.