SOCIAL MEDIA TIP OF THE WEEK: Create a Social Media Education Program

Companies looking into moving into the social media realm are usually pretty nervous.  The landscape of social media is a bit like the moon.  It is familiar, especially for any company with a heavy internet presence, and yet alien enough to make you realize you are not on terra firma any longer.  So, it is often in the companies’ best interest to bring some employees along, perhaps even create a social media team, so that the responsibility is spread around.

An article at Mashable discusses how companies can train employees to use social media to benefit the company and not hurt it in any way.  You can read the entire article here: http://mashable.com/2011/01/18/social-media-training/

The article states how a company can create classes and properly educate employees in the use of social media. It brings out some great points. For example, the first step is probably to find out where the employees interested in spear-heading the social media efforts stand as far as comfort with social media. Some people might be on Facebook and Twitter already or have blogs of their own and would, therefore, be very advanced in the usage of social media. Some others may have just heard about social media and are looking for a chance to find out what it’s all about. Knowing this can help you tailor your classes and training appropriately.

The article discusses how to choose the team to manage your social media and which departments make the most sense.  It also suggests a number of key questions you might want to ask, or have as discussion points, before officially launching a social media effort. They include:

  1. What is our overall social media strategy, and where does the education program fit within it?
  2. Where does social media training fit within our current education offerings?
  3. How can we make this program scalable globally and across business units?
  4. Which employees and business units should we focus on training?
  5. Will courses be mandatory for some or all employees, or will all courses be optional to everyone?
  6. Will we offer in-person or online courses, or both? And who will teach them?
  7. How will we develop the curriculum? And what skills do we want employees to hone?
  8. What types of materials should we develop for the program?
  9. Where will the training assets be housed?

10.  How will we build a collaborative community among social media trainees?

So, before you launch into the world of social media, think about what you should do before hand.  You wouldn’t want to head to the moon without understanding a little bit about rocket science and the moon’s composition.  So, too, would you not want to launch into the landscape of social media without educating the people who will manage your efforts or giving them the tools necessary to do it effectively.

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