Leading and scaling social media transformation within a complex organisation can be a lonely role. Whether you're driving Social Selling, Employee Advocacy or Social Leadership, you find yourself forever training employees on the same topic, repeating your elevator pitch to leaders and handling the same objections over and over again. Yet you need to maintain high energy levels and keep a smile on your face when inside there's a niggle telling you "surely there's an easier way!"
Having served in this role myself for over 7 years I appreciate the value and importance of networking with other practitioners. Blogs and articles are a great source of insight but nothing inspires you more than hearing the candid stories (and mistakes) from peers at other businesses.
That's why I decided to setup the Social Business Exchange. A peer-to-peer networking event to help practitioners learn from each other, ask questions and seek advice.
We held our 2nd event in London last week and the theme was "How to scale employee social media training" with guest speakers including Catherine Young from Xerox, Keith Lewis from Zurich Insurance and Hannah Quinton from GuyKat. You can view all the presentations and a video summary from the event here.
Here's a summary on how to scale social media training across your organisation:
Understand Your Employees Social Starting Point
It's important to understand up front that not all employees are the same. They'll have different motivations, aspirations and goals. Help them discover their place and support their learning pace.
Keep in mind that different roles will require different destination points. For example, Social Sellers don't necessarily need to be writing 1,000 word blog posts every week (if they are, I would be worried).
At Tribal we use our Social Impact methodology to pinpoint starting state and desired state per employee. During the event we asked the practitioners to align fictional employees to places on the grid and consider the kind of support needed for each character.
Kick Off With A Big Bang
You don't need a huge budget and fan fare but you do need leadership to announce the program launch, what it means to the business as well as the impact it will have on employees that get involved.
It's important to engage different departments early on so you don't duplicate tools, effort and budget down the line. Invite yourself to cross company communities (online and offline) since they're a great place to meet a cross section of the organisation. A great opportunity to evangelise the importance of social advocacy and on-board more employees to the program.
Build Out Self Service Resources For Beginners
There's not enough time or budget to put every employee through a workshop so tier your social training strategy.
Build out self-service resources such as tip sheets, animations and eLearning that employees can pace themselves through.
As employees show commitment to building out their personal brand on social media, invite them to workshops where they can learn more advanced techniques. Focus your more resource intensive training at small groups and specialist topics (e.g. LinkedIn Sales Navigator training)
Consider Gamification & Incentives
We're not talking iPad gifts or Amazon vouchers. Showcase your early adopters by recognising their efforts and calling out their best practice examples. We even tried a little game ourselves at the event - placing fictional employee profiles on the social media maturity model.
Kudos is often the best way to motivate employees along their social media learning journey so give credit and showcase their efforts.
This is the time to tailor your support even further and provide your champions with a little more 1-2-1 focus. Coaching and expert support to help optimise their social media presence is key to keep motivation levels high and build out an evangelist network.
Engage Managers & Leaders Early On
Executives don't always have the time to be active on social media (although customers expect them to be - that's a whole other topic) but they should talk positively and consistently to the employee community about the importance of social business and advocacy.
The image (right) was used by Keith. Essentially change makers need to encourage leaders to step out from behind their keyboard and be visible around this topic.
Ensure executives mention social in their quarterly Town Hall calls or monthly video updates. Encourage sales leaders to embed conversations around the LinkedIn SSI score at pipeline review meetings.
Be Mindful Of Different Learning Styles
People learn in different ways. Some prefer classroom style training whilst others prefer accessible mobile courses they can watch on the move. As we experience 5 generations within the workforce we need to mindful of how this impacts consumption of information.
- Traditionalists—born before 1946
- Baby Boomers—born between 1946 and 1964
- Generation X—born between 1965 and 1976
- Generation Y, or Millennials —born between 1977 and 1997
- Generation Z—born after 1997
Training doesn't always have to be in the classroom. Consider reverse mentoring, 1-2-1 coaching, live webinars, interactive eLearning, animations, worksheets, templates, cheat sheets etc. A good mix of resources that will appeal to a wider audience.
Build Out Your Champion Network
You will only succeed if you start building your tribe of advocates early on. Identify your early adopters, accelerate their success and encourage them to share their stories. This will attract more people to your program.
It's impossible to drive social business transformation on your own so identify those that enjoy getting involved. Enable them to deliver basic workshops internally. Realistically you may only call upon their services once or twice a year but at least you have a global network of trainers that can support you with face-to-face foundation training.