Program Plan: Developing a Social Media Learning Program at Your Company

Corporations must invest in at least five types of Social Media training for the corporation, they include: training for executives, for the core team “Center of Excellence”, for business units,  for rank and file employees and often for partners.

Our research has indicated that 37% of companies have indicated that internal training is the second highest internal priority, budgets for training remain relatively small at about $23,000 for the average annual spend in 2011. In some cases agencies and vendors are providing training at low or no cost as a loss-leader in order to gain additional business –savvy corporations eat up this free training as they’re hungry for answers.

Savvy corporations should develop a refined social business education curriculum that’s integrated with new hire orientation, as well as existing employees. The curriculum must incorporate at least five types of training for success:

Matrix: Five Types of Training are often Required

Type Description Curriculum What no one tells you
Executive Training This group can make or break your program. You must educate them early to obtain resources. Get an executive sponsor first that will champion your program. Tip: They talk a lot about customers. Use market data including customer adoption numbers, competitive benchmarking, and business cases with ROI formulas. Bring case studies and case examples, but keep the program focused on business objectives Focus on business goals –not technologies.
The worst thing you can do is get into a tools discussion and focus on follower and fan count.
Read Groundswell and provide each executive with Open Leadership, written by our founder.
Core team “Center of Excellence” aka the Hub This centralized group is a corporate functiona that enables business units to deploy social programs.  Learn more about the Center of Excellence programs emerging at many companies. They are primarily program managers but must be on the front line of emerging technology in order to educate BUs They require ongoing training on new technologies and should attend conferences, workshops, webinars. They should also learn from their peers in other companies by joining Marketing Profs, WOMMA, Forrester Councils, and SocialMedia.org This group requires ongoing training as the tools are constantly changing. Ask tech vendors and agencies to provide free training at least twice a year in a show and tell.
Business Units “Stakeholders” These groups are often located in the ‘Spokes’ of the corporation and can be HR, Support, Product, or Geos. They may not be experts at social media –but they know their business goals. They must be educated on the common resources provided by the Center of Excellence which includes policy, process, measurement tools, KPI frameworks. They should be educated on new technologies and should learn case examples. An easy entry to getting them involved is to start with them sharing what they’ve already done in a brown bag session. Tip: Don’t penalize them for failures or policy infringments, instead get them to teach each other.
Associates, Colleagues, Employees The rank and file employee can consist of any employee that may be using social media in their work lives. This can include sales, support staff, professional services, or even retail level employees. In today’s modern world, assume that even if Facebook is banned from your corporate network employees are using Facebook from their mobile phones. They must understand governance such as social media policies, legal policies, ethics policies, disclosure best practices. Furthermore they should know who to contact if they have immediate questions. Lastly, they should be aware of the social media triage process for customer complaints. Regular employees that use social on a regular basis must know policies, basic triage, and primary contacts within the Center of Excellence. Don’t forget your new employees, this must be integrated in new hire orientation.
Partners, Resellers, Franchise Owners This group of your suppliers, resellers, dealers, channel, franchise owners and beyond are responsible for your success in your ecosystem They must understand the rules and policies of what’s preferred and what’s not. For example can Franchiese partners create their own social media accounts and represent the brands? If so, what are the requirements? What content will the corporate brand provide to partners? Will content be syndicated for reuse and repurpose In most cases, education programs will start at basic 101 levels, provide them practical education on why social matters and teach them how to use SMMS tools and how to engage and dialog. Above all, provide scalable resources to them that help them roll this out in their already busy schedules.

Build a Long Term Learning Program –Not A One Off

  • Use the carrot –not the stick, provide certification programs. Start with simple brown bag lunches where various teams are invited to share and praised for being open and social.  Don’t shut them down, instead reward them for participating.  Sophisticated brands like Intel already offer a training program like Digital IQ that offer online training for employees, and a certification program.  Edelman offers internal agency folks a multi-tiered training program called a “Social Media Black Belt” program read interview with Phil Gomes.
  • Provide employees with remote access education to watch replays. While in person training and learning is a valuable process ensure that training modules are available online on the intranet and available to employees on a regular basis.  This provides employees with an ongoing internal content library.  Encourage employees who attend conferences to share their conference and trip notes in this centralized location growing the annotated knowledge base.
  • Provide a recurring learning program.  Social is causing a cultural shift inside of companies and as a result recurring training is going to be required. As a result, provide an ongoing learning program with regular internal and external trainers that can help move the corporation along quickly.  Slate dedicated program budget towards this program, and if you’ve an internal education academy tap into their ongoing resources.

Love to hear your tips on how companies are learning, kindly leave a comment below, these are just based upon my observations helping companies roll these programs out.

  • http://academia-research.com/ writing jobs

    Useful post. Thanks.

  • http://www.grovo.com Nick Narodny

    Great post. Would love to hear your thoughts about how we are addressing this problem with our training at Grovo (www.grovo.com). We have noticed the same need that you have and we have built a platform and library of content to service parts of the matrix you describe above.

  • http://badasse.28squared.com Bonnie

    Why are your consumers left out! An educated consumer is still the best customer! Our Urban Marketing company has studied the consumer interacting with Social Campaigns and conversations! Assuming that your target understands how to use the tools may be the biggest mistake being made today!

  • http://badasse.28squared.com Bonnie

    Love it just wondering- Why are your consumers left out! An educated consumer is still the best customer! Our Urban Marketing company has studied the consumer interacting with Social Campaigns and conversations! Assuming that your target understands how to use the tools may be the biggest mistake being made today!

  • http://deswalsh.com Des Walsh

    Jeremiah

    Very handy reference matrix and lists. Thank you for sharing this.

    You asked for comments. I trust you will know these are meant constructively, with a question included.

    First, while I don’t for a moment see you as a command-and-control guy, I noticed that, no doubt mainly because of the layout of the table, I was reading this as a hierarchical, top down, from the center out, approach. Secondly, I suspect if I showed this to a client with whom I am talking about engaging the channel overtly and directly in the strategy, they might be forgiven for reading the table as as giving a subordinate, even optional role to the front line and the channel. I’m assuming however you would see the process in reality as less tidy, even open to a “from the bottom up/ empowering the front line and the channel revolution”.

    Related to this is a set of questions about the chronology of training the various groups, as distinct from the priority of training. For example, while I acknowledge the necessity for the Executive group to be trained first, could that be better done in some companies by a “once over lightly now and we’ll come back to you later” approach, with then an immediate, more intensive and extensive program with other groups as soon as feasible? Dare I say “groundswell”?

    There are obviously issues here about how you effect/support/catalyze change in an organization, which I appreciate may be too much off topic for a detailed response.

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  • http://web-strategist.com/blog Jeremiah Owyang

    Des it’s always great to hear from you. In some cases the layout of this can be based on what to do first. Why? Without executive buy-in it’s hard to get blessings for policies which are required in rollout to employees. Assume the Core team (hub or CoE) will be self-educating by reading and attending events.

    Regarding frequency and timing, I’ve seen this vary on company. Interestingly, I’m headed to a client on East coast right now to do a training for their East coast division!

  • http://web-strategist.com/blog Jeremiah Owyang

    Helpful thanks!

  • http://web-strategist.com/blog Jeremiah Owyang

    Can you give me an example of this Bonnie? In many cases, I’ve seen that companies are catching up with customers who are already using social tools.

  • http://www.facebook.com/philgomes Phil Gomes

    Funny that I happen to read this while in the throes of pushing out an update to the Belt System for next week (and the week after submitting it for an award).

    I’d like to note that the “stick” shouldn’t necessarily be discounted at the expense of the “carrot.” *8-) Need both.

  • http://dragonsearchmarketing.com/ Ric Dragon

    I’ve been working on a comprehensive social media process – and am putting the final touches for a presentation I’m giving at CMS Expo next month. Your piece reminds me that I need to include training! As always, smart work!

  • http://web-strategist.com/blog Jeremiah Owyang

    Perhaps lead with carrot, reinforce with stick when carrot doesn’t work.

  • http://web-strategist.com/blog Jeremiah Owyang

    Perhaps lead with carrot, reinforce with stick when carrot doesn’t work.

  • http://twitter.com/primaretha primaretha

    This is great, but i don’t find new media literacy in the curriculum, what do you think? :)

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  • http://twitter.com/MerrimanMzinga Mike Merriman

    Great post – when I first looked at Social Media Training I was hoping it would have made reference to using social media as part of the training process. While the approaches and audiences listed are right on, I’d love to see organizations changing their instructional process to blend informal learning into the mix. It could be done in a simple way to reinforce the subject matter, or in a more involved way, based upon the tools involved. @merrimanmzinga

  • http://badasse.28squared.com Bonnie

    Sure…
    Yesterday I posted a link to the Bar Karma TV producers Challenge… I’m In NY everyone I meet at the local coffee spot. wi-fi café, wants to be in or producing. I posted the link in Facebook and got a response asking me to send them info!
    This happens often. I eventually realized that man people DO Not know that the links are clickable. They are “liking” only the text they see!
    I’ve taken calls asking me to walk them through replying or sending direct messages on twitter! For the most part new consumers you are left to guessing their way through many of these apps!
    May I ask where you have got the perception that the Company was catching up with the consumer! It’s one of the many theories that exist in Social Media that is not tested! If Anything Brands are catching up with early adapters not the those in the “long tail”!
    If I take a stroll downtown Brooklyn the Third largest shopping area in the US few consumers or businesses are seriously using social media (or have a website). If you do an online poll your numbers are skewed! Of the many who have accounts few select their choices online especially in the female 35-59) age group that makes the buying decisions!
    I can handle a hammer and may even be doing it for years, that does not mean I know “how to” use it! There is such a huge divide between what I see in the street and what I read online Theories are being allowed to perpetuate as facts!
    Google launched the Demo Slam a few Month aback to address the issue!
    Another example
    Lucky magazine recently added QR Codes… in one of their first issues I left the open book on the table during a brunch… the women looked at the ads and commented… I had to point out what the codes were and what they did. I watched as they tried to “scan” the codes, holding the camera at various angles. When I finally pointed out what needed to be done, they were met with a challenge of their camera’s Flash creating a glare in the image! I’m sure the staff and the designers understood how to use it no one thought about the consumers!
    In using Facebook group for one client we’ve taken to adding user’s guidelines on “how to set up and control emails”, How to add friends and leave the group as well as “rules of engagement!” This particular user group (musicians) came to the Facebook Social Media from Myspace! They are now older but without the “social” business savvy! We’ve started discussion on “how to translate networking to the digital realm!
    I move across the tech, and local community there is a notable difference between the tech and traditional business sectors, they get or are getting training! If you speak to that group they “know” but the consumer… Middle America is not really checking in!
    Surprisingly many on Facebook do not go searching for groups or pages in their topics to join! It never occurred to them they can… I spoke to one “Tech savvy designer… who simply never thought to be proactive… it’s Just not done! Culture is a powerful Factor! People do online what they do offline and they do offline and the digital realm is a culture here is a culture unto it’s own!

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  • http://www.sinomart.com/ wholesaleCostumes

    Hi, where did you get this information can you please support this with some proof or you may say some good reference as I and others will really appreciate. This information is really good and I will say will always be helpful if we try it risk free. So if you can back it up. That will really help us all. And this might bring some good repute to you.

  • http://www.sinomart.com/ wholesaleCostumes

    Hi, where did you get this information can you please support this with some proof or you may say some good reference as I and others will really appreciate. This information is really good and I will say will always be helpful if we try it risk free. So if you can back it up. That will really help us all. And this might bring some good repute to you.

  • Anonymous

    This post is so timely and spot-on for me right now – thanks for writing it! Given that social business requires such a cultural shift for everyone within the organization (and is often the hardest to pull off successfully), executing on any social strategy absolutely requires up-front learning to level-set understanding.

    Especially with the C-suite folks. If for no other reason than to save yourself the time and energy spent on conversations like: “… by leveraging geo-location apps like Foursquare…” [blank stares] “What’s Foursquare?”.

    For those of us who have minimal resources (“team of one”, I like to say) which group would you recommend starting with first? Execs?

  • http://web-strategist.com/blog Jeremiah Owyang

    Jaimee, you’re not alone! we hear this a lot. One tip: don’t talk to execs about technology, focus on the change in relationship with customers, then business goals, in that order.

  • http://web-strategist.com/blog Jeremiah Owyang

    Jaimee, you’re not alone! we hear this a lot. One tip: don’t talk to execs about technology, focus on the change in relationship with customers, then business goals, in that order.

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  • http://www.redbricksmedia.com/ Media Companies In San Francis

    This is really going to help me and my friends for our class project. By the way, I enjoy the way you write.

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