As the internet becomes an increasingly important aspect of business in any industry, the need to expand your employees’ knowledge of social media is more vital than ever. Social media evens the playing field between massive corporations and small businesses. If you have a great product, and people that understand how information flows and travels through the social network, you can have great success. You’ll see advertising and marketing that has a clearly defined impact on your bottom line, and a brand that gains traction with your core audience and well beyond. But none of this is possible if your communications department doesn’t inherently understand how social media works. So whether your marketing is handled by one person or one hundred, you must set up and maintain a social media training program. Here are five reasons why it is more than worth your time.
First, you’ll be able to identify your employees’ skill levels with social media. Some people at the company may be completely new, and not even understand what a social network really is. Other employees, especially the younger generation, probably maintain active Facebook and Twitter accounts, with thousands of followers and friends. Until you sit everyone down in a training program, you won’t be able to formulate that baseline of skills. And once you know who you are dealing with, you won’t waste time teaching social media experts the basics, and you won’t force people who just don’t care about social media to take the lead.
A social media training program will also assist you with planning your long-term online strategies. Websites like Pinterest and Facebook are constantly evolving, and it will require continuous education to keep your employees up to speed. The changes in format, especially on Facebook, allow different levels of interaction, and create new advertising and marketing opportunities. Without making training a priority, you will certainly miss out of much of what these new features make possible for your business.
If you don’t have a social media training program, chances are your company does not have a presence on all the sites it should. Sure you have a Facebook page, but is your business on LinkedIn? Have you created a Pinterest board, expanded onto Google+ or developed a YouTube channel that draws subscribers? Some of these sites share members, but not everyone uses each channel in the same way. You could be missing customers by not being visible on every successful site, and without training your staff, you will never get there.
It’s easy to understand how social media works theoretically, but if you don’t foster a learning environment, you will miss tons of potentially great ideas. Sure, you want your marketing department to understand social media, but moments of brilliance can also come out of other departments that you wouldn’t expect. Members of the IT department, though not regularly interacting with customers, may grasp something about the social networks intuitively that your marketing whiz may miss. By putting everyone at the company through a training program, you’ll make it known that you’re open to ideas from every corner.
Finally, maintaining a social media training program will offer new insights on how to monitor and measure your success. You may be a social network genius, but you also don’t have time to do it all yourself. You need a team that’s just as educated as you are, so you can have more people that are capable of exploring and assessing your social media ROI. Empower your staff to do this, and you’ll save significant amounts of time and money.
Jamie Lewis is a writer for GetShared – Social Media Optimization | Website Marketing, the premier agency for all of your internet marketing needs.