Is company-wide training part of your social media strategy?

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By: Alana Golob

By now, most brands have had their “ah-ha” social media moment and have realized that in order to build equity, see return and create conversions, a clear strategy must be developed. Hours need to be invested. Many marketing and public relations VPs are scurrying to fill a social media manager type of position to take their existing presence to the next level. Additionally, “Find us on Facebook” and “Follow us on Twitter” messages are being stamped confidently on all advertising creative.

However, do the legal, human relations, sales and operations departments know how social media is impacting their aspect of business and how it can improve their bottom line? HR could be saving dollars from hiring outside recruiters and decreasing staff turnover by using these new communication tools to recruit talent, monitor employees and evaluate candidates. Does the president of your company, most likely the single most influential person behind your brand, have a social media presence? Humans connect with humans, not logos.

The social media landscape continues to do what it does best . . . evolve and grow quicker than anyone seems to realize. It’s a way of life and more now than ever, consumers are turning to their Facebook and Twitter pages for value in the form of advice, breaking news, exclusive content, customer service and entertainment. Consumers expect brands to be online with an attentive ear. If you’re not actively listening, engaging and responding to your audience, it’s similar to not answering the phone or unlocking the doors for business. And, it’s very likely your competitors are listening to those tipping point consumers who are trying to get your attention.

For social media to be truly successful and for that transparency to be apparent, social media must be embraced by every level of the brand from the executives to those who interact with the consumer on a daily basis. There are several challenges. First, no one is going to embrace and support something they don’t understand. Second, the employees who do embrace and support these platforms on a personal level may not feel empowered to use it on a professional level. And last, it is a powerful tool that can be misused in untrained and uneducated hands. That’s where company-wide training comes into play.

If you haven’t taken the next step yet it’s time to go “all-in” by providing your staff with the proper education needed to build a cohesive social media communication strategy for the entire company. Digital Royalty University (dRU) is our education division comprised of curriculums that are delivered both in-person and via webinar series. These education sessions are customized for brands ranging from thousands of employees to five employees.

DoubleTree by Hilton is an example of a large brand that has embraced social media and invested in training to provide the necessary resources for each of their 250+ locations around the world. They’re now able to develop and execute a localized social media strategy. In addition to working with the brand, Digital Royalty University (dRU) is leading a six-week webinar series for more than 500 DoubleTree by Hilton employees. The training is broken down into five separate customized curriculums that cover everything from account set-up on a variety of channels, to best practices and tips on how to build an engaging online community. Additionally, training is a way for DoubleTree by Hilton to bring their deep-rooted CARE culture to life through social media.

When supported by the entire company, social media can also be an effective culture-building tool. Take Tony Hsieh and Zappos for example, social media isn’t just a strategy, it’s part of the company culture. Too often companies focus too much on which employee should be responsible for their social media presence, when they should be focusing on who doesn’t have a presence online and developing a strategy to get them onboard.

For more info on Digital Royalty University (dRU), email: [email protected]

— Note, since this blog post was written, dRU has added Google+ to the curriculum.