Are your employees aware of how to handle social media activities? If you’re not, you’re not the only one with this problem. Many business decision makers don’t track their employees’ online activities. Few of the reasons they’re not doing this is because they are unaware of the possible consequences or  are they are confident in their employees’ common sense. There are two ways to address this issue: first, you need to develop an external social media policy and second, you need to provide your employees with proper training on their personal social network profiles. Why? Because people make mistakes. And I’m sure you don’t want your company to experience a social media catastrophe, which can cause irreversible damage to your brand’s image. I believe that all businesses that decide to engage in social media should have a corporate social media policy, instead of diving into it unprepared.

If you want to develop a policy from scratch, or you just want to make sure you’ve covered the most important aspects, I suggest you keep on reading. When creating a policy, you have to keep in mind that social media is an continuously evolving platform. This is why you need to incorporate periodical updates or refreshment courses for your employees to prevent your policy from becoming outdated. If you’re not sure where to start, you can use the following guidelines to make sure you’re heading in the right direction.

Pre-Training

–          Make sure everyone’s aware of the corporate social media training: Use more ways than your corporate email system to reach your employees. Simple notifications can be put in places like the cafeteria or the restrooms. Keep the notification simple (so people will get less distracted): “Don’t forget the social media training on Monday, April 2nd!”

–          Make sure the training is based on actual facts: In any organization, you might deal with people who don’t believe in social media. Your job is to not only convince them, but to get their support as well. Provide them with statistics, data and examples of successful social media engagements.

–          Use multiple tools: As part of the training, you need to apply multiple tools to remind people of what they’ve learned until it becomes part of a regular routine. Aside from a presentation, you can set up an online course, so employees can access the training from their home computers.

–          Define your brand’s message: This has more to do with the actual content of the training. Everyone should comprehend the message and maintain its presence.

–          Choose social networks: Explain to your employees why you have chosen to engage in certain social networks so they know what to pay attention to.

–          Define social media: Make sure that you define social media on your terms as this will help your employees get a better understanding of your motivation. Do you consider blog engagement social media? Determine this prior to the training launch.

 

 

The Training

–          Listen to feedback: Listen carefully to the feedback of your employees, they might point out an issue you weren’t aware of before; this helps you to improve the policy.

–          Assign a social media management team: Introduce the team you have assigned to manage your social media.

–          Assign a social media customer services team: Social media experts don’t always know how to handle customer services online. The two teams need to collaborate, but also acknowledge their division.

–          Present different scenarios: You can use case studies of companies that have made social media mistakes, how they have dealt with them, and how you think they should have dealt with them.

–          Identify opportunities and goals: Some examples could include “growing your online community” or “optimizing social presence and visibility.” On the long-term, these things can result in lead generation.

–          Provide training on different management levels: Managers need extra training in making the right decisions for the company.

–          Set reasonable rules for employees’ social profiles: This is very important because your employees represent your company. A professional in real life should maintain this image online. However, you also need to consider and respect their right to express a social persona.

A corporate social media policy should be consistent and thorough, yet simple. You don’t want to overload your employees with information. Moreover, people are more likely to remember the training if it’s simple. As mentioned before, it’s important to remind your employees of the policy post-training. Be creative!

 

Does your company have a social media policy? What tools did you use in your training? I would love to read about it in the comments!