Every employee working in and for your brand has a different personality, different training needs and a different role to play in the overall brand advocacy strategy. This is why a monorail approach to social media training is unlikely to yield the most fruitful results.
Just like the social media platforms themselves, online social media training can be customised to provide tailored information for each employee. By setting up an account, the employee can also keep a record of his or her progress, and score himself or herself against known benchmarks to see how far he or she is progressing in terms of knowledge and skills.
Learning in concert with the platform you are currently using is much more useful than learning by rote, as a part of a blanket training programme. Employees with access to personal online social media training accounts can call up their personalised training courses while they are using LinkedIn, or Facebook or Twitter – teaching themselves the skills and best practice they need right when they need them the most. In this way the lessons they learn are learned at that critical moment of greatest uptake – when the brain can see the immediate practical use of the skill it is being taught.
Skills suitable for use in professional social media include the creation and maintenance of a LinkedIn account; the expansion and maintenance of a LinkedIn network; and behavioural techniques for interacting with other users. These techniques may cover anything from basic politeness and form, to sophisticated uses of influencing skills.
Professional users of social media must also know how to properly use Facebook and Twitter – with specific emphasis on safety and security. Employee use of popular social media sites and feeds is an increasing concern for companies all over the world. By giving those employees access to online social media training facilities, companies are able to perform due diligence – and to start using their employees as the untapped social media resource they really are.
When an employee does something inadvisable with Facebook or Twitter, the whole world gets to hear about it – and the resultant bad publicity is often only cleared up by a swift and public act of redress. What’s often overlooked here is the potential for the same sites to be used in a positive way. Where bad brand advocacy can exist by mistake, good brand advocacy can happen by design.
Facebook and Twitter usage is visible to often huge amounts of followers and friends. The potentially incremental brand advocating power of these networks has, as yet, remained unexploited by the brands for which individuals work. Online social media training will show employees whole new ways of opening up brand advocacy avenues on behalf of the companies they work for.
In most cases, the best results are delivered when the training is as personalised as the platforms to which it refers. Some circles of influence, or networks of friends, for instance, are suited to advocacy in a direct sense. While others are more appropriate for advocacy by reflection, through the behaviour shown and advice given.