Going forward as of 2012, all corporations need to have a social media presence but it is also very important that key executives and sales people also maintain a professional presence. To do this, you need to have discussions with your team and address the fact that people like to deal with people more than a corporation. Twitter and LinkedIn are great places for employees to have a presence and communicate with clients and prospects while gaining opportunities to provide them with more value. It’s extremely important that you do it right as there is different etiquette with each social network and that’s one area where corporate social media training is essential.
Is Corporate Social Media Training something you can do without? Most corporations can’t afford the risk of a social catastrophe the size of McDonald’s “#McDStories” or the “United Breaks Guitars” fiasco. Proper corporate social media training for your organization will be a fraction of the amount you would spend during a failed marketing campaign.
Social media is about putting a personal face on what your company does and this is more important than ever in a time when trust of the corporate domain has had attention regularly in the mainstream media. It is essential to remind people that there are real, smiling faces behind your goods or services, and people don’t want to communicate with an inanimate object – a corporate drone, so to speak, but rather one of the thousands of employees who make the cogs and wheels turn every day. Think Zappos!
So what are the most important factors in proper Corporate Social Media Training? There are several reasons why you need to know some essentials, but here are a just a few:
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- Different social media sites have different social conventions. The way you speak to your boss at a baseball game, for example, differs to how you would relate to him in a formal boardroom meeting surrounded by possible future clients. While it is great to infuse a personal touch into a corporate presence on social media sites, it is imperative that the overall impression is still professional. There are specific ways to accomplish both warmth and competence at the same time and every site has it’s own etiquette.
- Start with great employee profiles. One way you can suck the faceless feel out of your organization is to give your employees a proper way to introduce their talents and skills. You can think of it as a virtual handshake on the Internet. Profiles should include a high quality, professional picture (appearance is crucial online), a place to list education, special skills, training, time with the company, special accolades or awards received, volunteer activities done in conjunction with the company, and languages spoken.
- Profiles should have the same format for each listing and be clear and easy to read. Both employees and clients of your company should feel like they know your company better after reading about your team. Sites like LinkedIn are great for your company’s online presence. A great example of this task done well is at General Electric. Visit their site to see some of their employee profiles.
- Make your profile keyword-rich. Search engines constantly crawl sites for content and they love social sites. Employee profiles on social networks should utilize your company name to a minimum of a 1% density in order to promote who you are and what you do.
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- Use LinkedIn’s Company Pages. Populate your company page with the most interesting tidbits about your organization and make sure employees who work for you link to this page.
- Lose the middleman. Are you spending a fortune on getting new customers? Take out the middleman and connect directly with potential customers using social media. The beauty of this new marketing medium is that it thrives on two-way communication. If it’s good enough for Procter & Gamble, it’s good enough for you!
- Build your email list. As you are building your following on social media, it’s important to have a funnel that helps you get your most interested connections’ email addresses. Email is still one of the most effective ways to convert sales online and can be exponentially more powerful when combined with an effective social media strategy.
- Make your product more social. One local home-building contractor started posting a webcam view of his contractors drive to the job site on their company pages, as well as pictures of a house in the building process with occasional commentary by the lead contractor. This helped him generate a lot more interest around his business, despite the fact he initially thought no one would care. People don’t have to be interested in what you do but it gives your prospective customers a chance to see that you know what you’re doing, first-hand!
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- Make sure to use social sharing buttons on your website so people can share your posts and connect with you on whichever social network they prefer.
Corporate Social Media Training is not an idea you should sweep under the rug. Technology for social media is moving at such a rapid pace that you need to make sure you can stay on top of these tips and strategies while having the time to implement them so you can stay competitive.