When speaking about social media with marketing and compliance teams in regulated markets, the conversation often revolves around tools and supervision. This is only one step in the process. Some of the most polished and well-thought out social organizations are making education a central part of their process.
Making education the center of your digital strategy is key to success. All of this technology emerged fast, and employees at all levels of the organization might lack the skills and knowledge needed to leverage social media channels. The resulting digital skills gap can only be addressed through social media education.
So how do you take that next step to set your employees on the right path? Here are three ideas to consider when creating an education program for your business.
Create a “license to use” program
Put together a program that shows your business stakeholders the benefits and ROI of a social organization. Create a license system that puts the organization through a series of education programs either in-person or online and gives each user a “license” to participate in social as a representative of your brand. Make sure the content educates across the board on all platforms, not just features and functions, and helps employees understand how to engage their follower base.
As it relates to compliance and security, teach them about expected behaviours and some of the potential risks that are out there. For example, phishing attempts are rampant in financial services and healthcare right now due to the high black market value on company data in these verticals. Your employees should therefore know that when a link is posted from an unknown source, with an ambiguous tagline, offering something not requested, to not click that link and/or share their password. It seems simple, but teaching employees these signs can easily help you avoid these potentially detrimental scams.
Gamify the program
Amplify the power of your competitively natured employees. Create a leaderboard around your program with an analytics tool to recognise influencers and advocates of the company brand. Include “levels” of education achieved in social above and beyond your license program. There are plenty of really strong, self-paced online courses around social strategy, including the Hootsuite/Newhouse University accredited ASMS program.
When you turn social media into a competition, you are able to acknowledge the early adopters while giving those who haven’t yet adopted social something to strive for. You’ll be amazed at how far some healthy competition can take your program.
Reward with personal amplification
Offer your winners on the leaderboard a prize that helps amplify their personal professional brand image. Here are a few options.
Give your internal top influencers a personal social ad budget. Create a targeted set of ads and put together a campaign for them. Teach them how to do this along the way, further enhancing their skillset. If they are a sales rep, help find them more leads in their territory through a paid media program.
Pay for an education program that will give them a certification. This is win/win, as they enhance their professional skills and you gain stronger and smarter social influencers.
When all else fails, offer an iWatch. Everybody wants an iWatch.
One of the most important steps you can take is to have the right compliance toolset using a compliant SRP like Hootsuite and to have a supervisory team overseeing the activity of your social strategy. There is no replacement for great tools and a team that has the understanding and processes required to use them. To truly scale and reap the benefit of organization wide social adoption and brand amplification, a company must make education central to the strategy. Most of the biggest social missteps could have been avoided if the employee had a better understanding of the platform and/or common social engineering tactics.
An education program like this is resource and skills intensive. If you are as lean as most marketing organizations you should engage a provider to help. Hootsuite custom education has created programs across most business verticals and everything from 20 employees in a “train the trainer” environment to 20,000 both onsite and online.
Author Jonathan Reedy is speaking at Digital Marketing for Financial Services in Toronto on June 9 on ‘How to Implement Social Media in a Regulated Environment’.