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Your Webinar Questions About Corporate Social Media Education

Ed Terpening

Large enterprises are rolling out social media at scale – and training and education for employees is critical. Well-developed social media education programs can help companies achieve business goals by reducing social media risk and activating employees for engagement and advocacy.

Charlene Li and I presented our most recent research and report in a webinar, now available for replay. The webinar provides a recap of the latest data and trends in social media education for businesses. Our research includes insights from companies such as Dell, Radio Shack and Whole Foods, and the webinar covers topics such as:

  • The state of social media education – who’s doing what, and why
  • Looking at frameworks for social media education – with examples from top companies
  • A checklist of practical steps you can take to get started with education in your own organization

The content for the webinar is built around Altimeter Group’s report, Social Media Education for Employees: Reduce Social Media Risk and Activate Employees for Scale, available for free download. The on-demand replay is available 24/7, and I’ve included below a sampling of some of the questions from the session.

Follow Altimeter Group’s education hashtag at: #socialedu, and you’ll find on Twitter our Q&A during the session. Please add to the conversation and ask us questions by including the #socialedu hashtag and address to @edterpening.

Social Media Education FAQ

Q:         How would you suggest a company get started with education around social media, when there’s no budget or resources for it?

A:         There are low-cost options to get started, until your organization has the budget to do more. One low-cost option is CommonCraft, a subscription based service for both learning and creating your own educational videos. For example, check out their Commoncraft Twitter introduction). You could easily create a basic curriculum from their videos. Another great option is Compy Socially, which offers online and live training. Their focus is on regulatory compliance, but the offer a full range of training.

Q:         What are the best first steps for getting executives engaged in social media?

A:         It depends on your company culture and the POV of your leaders, but most leaders respond to what they hear from customers and employees. Listen to what customers and employees are saying in social media about your brand, and communicate that to leadership. You may surprise them, and they may surprise you by making social a priority. Listening in social will help to establish priorities around how and when to use social to drive the business forward, as well as to identify topics that will resonate with customers and executives. Catalog the ‘Top 10’ stories, and that can give some initial direction on key topics to address.

Q:        What is the average headcount for social media education?

A:        Our research shows that organizations with 1,000 or more employees are allocating approximately one-half of a Full Time Equivalent (FTE). We think that is a reasonable baseline.

Q:        What are key best practices on insourcing versus outsourcing, especially when it comes to implementing social media policy?

A:        It varies, but for heavily regulated industries, such as healthcare, telecommunications and financial services, insourcing for policy training is the norm. Outside of policy training, we get into basic skills and platforms. These are typically outsourced because they are teaching fundamentals about using the technology, as opposed to company-specific policies and procedures. Companies should look to develop a usable hybrid model for education, and insourcing and/or partnering on the elements where they need the greatest control – such as practitioner training that is focused on social business strategy, leadership and policy training.

Q:        Is there a way to leverage social to reverse-mentor executives?

A:        Social media is experiential, so it is important that executives use it to understand it. Use of internal, enterprise social tools like Yammer and Chatter can be used to help executives experience social in a “safe place”, internally.

Q:        We already have employee policy compliance courses that touch on social, such as Harassment, Ethics and Information Security. Do we need training for social media, too?

A:        A very common approach is to integrate social into existing policy training—as it should. Social is so pervasive as a communications tool, it will overlap with other policies. That said, there are many aspects of social that are unique to social and not typically covered in other policies. We often recommend a dedicated social media course for all employees for this reason.