3 Reasons Why Social Media Training is Critical for Companies in 2011

by Mack Collier

The above is a graph from EMarketer listing the top areas that corporate social media strategists will be investing in 2011.  Note that the most important investment area for these strategists, behind only measuring SM ROI, was internal education and training.  I think there are 3 reasons why social media training is so critical for companies, especially larger ones, in 2011.

1 – Social media for companies has evolved, teams are now in place.  Larger companies are no longer experimenting with social media, they’ve now committed and staffs have been hired.  It’s very important for companies to invest in training these teams and not only that, but that they get the same training.  And that open interaction and collaboration is facilitated.  In many cases, the people that spearheaded a company’s social media efforts a couple of years ago, are now training all areas of the company on using these same tools.

2 – Social media training is cost-efficient.  I’ve seen this far too often over the past 2-3 years. A company sends an employee to a social media conference, then that person takes copious notes all day in every session, then goes back to her office and tries to explain to her team what she learned.  So the end result is the company paid $1,500-$2,000 to send one person to a conference, and all they get is a notepad full of hastily scribbled notes that no one can really explain.

This is exactly why last year I shifted the focus of my consulting to providing on-site social media training for companies.  I realized that for about the same amount that a company could send an employee or 2 to a social media conference, I could give them on-site social media training for an entire day, to their entire team.  This is a huge cost-savings to the company, and helps the entire team be more efficient in its social media efforts, meaning the investment in social media training easily pays for itself several times over.  Please check out my Social Media Training and Workshops page to see exactly how this service works.

3 – Social media training helps get everyone on the same page.  Instead of having ‘the blogging guy’ and ‘the Facebook gal’, your entire team can be up to speed on how your company is using these tools, and more importantly, what you are trying to accomplish.  That means that the efforts of the individuals will be more effective, and as a result, the output of the entire team will increase dramatically.

So if your company now has an organized social media team, there’s three reasons why I think it’s critical for you to invest in social media training in 2011.  If your company has started a social media training program, either internally, or by bringing in external consultants or agencies, how has that worked for you?

And if your company would like to hire me to either provide on-site social media training to your team, and/or to help your company organize an internal social media training program for your employees, please email me.

nic oliver February 1, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Love the list! May I suggest a 4th?

Without Social Media Training you will not be able to tap into what your customers are saying about you.

Customer to customer communication is a new communication channel and most companies are not using the channel in the most effective way. Some hate criticism, overreact and it quickly turns into a PR disaster. Others ignore it and hope it will go away. yet others respond to it but don’t let the channel know they’ve responded. Social Media Training is vital to building a strategy for engaging customers in the C2C channel.

Mack Collier February 1, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Nic there is far too little time being spent examining the C2C channel. Huge potential is there for companies that are willing to embrace their customers and facilitate connections between them.

nic oliver February 2, 2011 at 10:47 am

Exciting News!

I had a chat with a guy who’s one of the drivers of social media in the European Commission and they are interested in this!

Will keep you informed about if a project develops – it would be cool if one of these monoliths gets into the C2C area (citizen to citizen?

Al Brocious February 1, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Great post Mack, sales people could also learn a lot from cross training. Gives them a research tool and ability to get perspective for countering no arguments.

Boomergirl February 2, 2011 at 9:28 am

Always enjoy reading your posts and I am an avid fan of Sunday pm #Blogchat .

Gabriele Maidecchi February 2, 2011 at 10:06 am

We share one beliefe, and that is, I’d rather have a whole team prophicient in social media matters than just 1-2 individuals, no matter how many people are gonna end up being active in the company’s social media channels. It’s like learning how to write proper English, even if not everyone will end up writing business documents, it’s kinda wise for everyone to know it.

Kelly Queijo February 2, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Mack, I agree. They don’t call it “social” media for nothing. By doing on-site training to a group, learning becomes social. I’m sure you’ve seen it when a company sends more than 1 person to social media training. By sending you to the company instead, people are even more likely to embrace the technology and share what they learn with each other. The synergy alone is worth the outcome, let alone the cost savings to the company. Great idea!

KevinMGreen February 3, 2011 at 8:53 am

Hey Mack,

Great post! It’s funny to think about how only two years ago, companies were creating “rules of engagement” and “guidelines for participation” and expected these documents to be enough of what the staff needed to participate in social media. Today, we’re seeing more and more organizations recognizing that there are gaps in engagement methods and significant redundancy in what people are doing. While many orgs do have teams in place, front runners are recognizing that training goes beyond only the team they’ve tapped to manage the social presence. As more and more employees take it upon themselves to participate, the brand needs to ensure that folks have the resources, tools and information necessary to effectively represent the brand.

Over the next year, we’ll see more companies looking to tap into employees outside of the identified “teams” and the need for training will be far more necessary than even a team of 20-30 people. The challenge for many companies is how do I enable everyone, how do I measure and track everything and how do I mobilize this most valuable resource effectively.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: