Why Entrepreneurs Must Do Social Media Training
By Amber Daines
While it’s a fantastic public relations (PR) tool to reach new customers and build your network in the good times, social media is where any professional crisis will require the most attention in 2013. Are you prepared?
TV, radio and print may cover a business leader’s crisis in a more amplified fashion, it’s your followers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the like are likely to:
- Comment first on any drama they have experienced through your product or service
- Do the most immediate damage to your reputation if you don’t respond in a timely and appropriate manner
Sounds scary, right? Don’t fear. I am all about offering clients winning PR solutions so let’s examine what us women entrepreneurs can you can prevent a future social media crisis.
1) Have a social media policy in place. In my new book ‘Well Spun: Big PR and Social Media Ideas for Small Business’ , I examine the ways in which you can specifically manage trolls. Most large companies have already implemented a social media policy for their staff but it’s just as important for entrepreneurs in small to medium sized businesses to do the same. When the CEO and employees use social media carefully and responsibly, it’s a win-win for all. My top three social media guidelines are: Be transparent, Be discreet, Play nice.
2) Conduct a social media training program. This is key once you have a policy in place, and before that spend some time is conducting an assessment of why the company wants to do training and the goal of the session. Don’t assume everyone understand the ins and outs of social media for business. For example, lots of people don’t realise that to participate in Facebook groups or pages you don’t need to ‘friend’ anyone. Training can demystify any knowledge gaps and encourage effective use of social media. Cover the benefits and pitfalls of social media engagement by employees, what are best practices, and what are your company requirements when leveraging social media on behalf of the business.
3) Update your social media knowledge frequently. Some of my clients have held back from engaging in social media because of how fast the social media world shifts. Changes to interfaces and platforms and privacy settings do occur often and without notice. However, a business with strong social media channels should use them as a delivery mechanism for future training updates. For example, a design client of mine created an engaging 10 minute training video that was required for all members of their national sales team. Then they posted it publicly on YouTube to increase its profile. Just like Women as Entrepreneurs founder Orsi Parkanyi has done with her channel.
Devising a solid social media training program to back up your company’s PR strategy doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive, but not doing one can be.
Amber has over 16 years of communications expertise in journalism, PR and marketing. She began in media as a print and TV reporter followed a career in corporate public relations working with many big-end-of-town companies as well as SMEs. As Founder of boutique consultancy called Bespoke Communications, Amber’s clients include major corporates, entrepreneurs, artists and not-for-profit groups. She offers media training, PR and writing services. Since 2001, Amber has contributed to a number of books and in May 2013 launched her first e-book ‘Well Spun: Big PR and Social Media Ideas for Small Business’ While Amber is passionate about her business, she loves nothing more than kicking back with her family and enjoying a glass of French rosé.