One thing that always strikes me at social media training and certification is seeing the reactions of experienced social marketers. Even though these people have spent months, some years, working on social channels, most of them have little opportunity to discuss what they do and even to ask some really basic questions.
For the newbies, I usually see a huge sigh of relief at the end of the trainings as if to recognize “I can do this. I know what’s expected of me.”
I’ve come to realize that ongoing social media training is the missing secret ingredient in most brands social efforts. Despite all of the buzz of “social business” most businesses are not. They are still siloed and focused. Social marketing is a key, growing part of their marketing, but it’s still not so well integrated.
Social training and certification serves two purposes. First, it sets the groundwork for the dos and don’ts for the brands social marketing. We talk about best practices and we talk about the company social policies. We look at case studies including a lot of negative ones. Most importantly, we give people on the team a chance to ask questions to each other or to internal company representatives, like the legal team.
For some clients we create an online test to make sure they’ve read through the materials. But I find the unscripted part of the training critical to a brands social success. We talk about the need of company integration for social media. But often there’s little integration among the social team itself or between the social team and other key parts of the business.
The training is in essence modeling a behavior we want social marketers to continue with once they go back to their “real jobs.”
It doesn’t always work, though. I’ve had clients who did the exact opposite of what they were trained to do. I’ve had clients who almost copied to a T one of the negative case studies we reviewed.
Most succeed though. And they are able to also make personal connection that make the brands social marketing more successful. It helps when ongoing training brings these people back together to reinforce the in-person connections.
Social media isn’t rocket science. Social media training can fill a critical role if a brand is looking to have social play a key role in business success.