80% of customers expect a company to respond to a social media post within 24 hours, according to HubSpot. Is your social media policy agile and engaging enough so that your employees can act swiftly?
Social media doesn't wait. Twitter conversations can be over in the time you return from your 10 am coffee break and LinkedIn's newsfeed is no longer a more leisurely affair. It's not uncommon to struggle to find a LinkedIn post that sparked your interest before an urgent email came in.
Your employees need to know how you wish them to behave on social media but with enough freedom so that engaging on social media remains social and prompt, without disregarding the risks.
According to Weber Shandwick, only 45% of employees have a clear understanding of what they should and should not do on social channels when it comes to company-related topics.
They can't do so if your social media policy is a ten-page long, static document posted on the intranet and only revisited once a year. Here's what it should include.
Scenario-Based Learning: Building Social Media Confidence
Your social media policy could be thoroughly thought-out, but that doesn’t mean that your employees will know what to do – or not do – in particular social media scenarios. If we take an example social media policy such as:
- Be professional yet human and conversational
- Protect information and confidentiality
- Live our values
- Be kind and respectful of other’s views
- Avoid conflicts of interest
What does a 'professional, yet human and conversational' post look like in practice? How would they draft a post that reflects this when sharing, say, an opinion on a news article? How would they respond to trolls or negative reactions in a "kind and respectful" manner?
Can they spot potential confidentiality and conflicts of interest in common scenarios? Many won’t know the answer and that’s why we include these kinds of scenarios in our interactive Social Practitioner Course.
It is only by providing your employees with real-life social media scenarios that they can test and critically apply the knowledge that they've learned. Scenario-based, active learning leads to a deeper understanding and better retention.
Bite-Sized And Self-Paced Learning
There's a good reason that school students are encouraged to revise using BBC Bitesize and that the Pomodoro technique has become so popular – we're hardwired only to stay focused for short bursts of time.
As Abreena Tompkins, who has developed a brain-based course design based on over 300 articles of research says, “Physiologically, your neurons are keen and alert for no more than 20 consecutive minutes. At the end of those 20 minutes, your neurons have gone from full-fledged alert to total collapse ...”.
People also have different preferences for when and where they want to learn about issues that aren’t part of their job description. Offering self-paced, bite-sized e-learning that they can access on the go means that it’s easier to learn on their terms and they’re much more likely to stay focused.
On-Demand, Practical Demos And Templates
As marketers, we know only too well that "examples", "template", "demo" or "cheat sheet" are all popular search terms for any given topic.
For example, the keyword phrase "LinkedIn Profile" has 3,600 monthly searches in the UK but a further 390 for "LinkedIn Profile examples" and "LinkedIn profile generator".
We aim to make the life of our prospects easier by removing the hard work and your social media training should be no different.
Instead of delivering training on a one-off basis, you can remove any further barriers to sharing by providing ready-made demos, checklists and templates for using social media, such as:
- LinkedIn profile cheat sheet
- 5 popular social media post templates
- Links to useful tools such as CoSchedule’s Headline Analyser and Social Message Optimser, Hashtagify and more
- A demo of how to search for relevant connections on LinkedIn
- Make sure that they’re easily accessible and tagged so that your employees can access them quickly.
Keeping It Legal Without Instilling Fear
All social media policies and training should cover risks, such as cyber and inadvertently harming the brand or breaching client confidentiality.
Yet any policy needs to balance risks with empowering your employees to share. Restricting social media postings to pre-approved messages is unlikely to encourage them to share and can reduce the number of likes, comments and shares they receive.
Some employee advocacy tools, such as Smarp and Sociabble let you set up defined 'post-approval' rules. That way, if your employees customise posts, they can do so without fear that it’s not brand-compliant or breaking any laws.
Your social media policy can make or break your brand online and the relationship you have with your clients or customers. Yet we can't emphasise enough that your employees shouldn't fear social media – the most significant risk to businesses now comes from failing to embrace social and digital transformation.
If you need to bring your social media policy to life, then our Social Media Practitioner eLearning course can help you do so. It uses scenario-based learning in an engaging way to test understanding. Find out more here.