6 ways to train employees in social media

Empower employees to pitch in with your social media strategy by encouraging them to share ideas, experiment, report results, and more.

One of the biggest challenges small businesses face is managing social media efforts. There are only so many hours in a day for business owners to engage with customers through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs. The best way to manage social media is to provide employees with social media training on best practices, content development, measuring return on investment, and community management, among other items.

Here are six tips to provide excellent social media training to your employees:

1. Share knowledge

In many businesses, employees aren’t sharing their knowledge because no systems are set up to disseminate information in a central place. For the budget conscious, the easiest way to start sharing knowledge is to set up a free Wikispaces account.

Wikispaces provide a space for employees to share articles, reports, guidelines, pictures, videos and other content. The website provides multiple permissions for viewing and editing content, so you will not have to worry about employees changing information without control.

Yammer is another great site for real-time knowledge-sharing. It functions like Twitter in that you can see short updates in a news feed. This is a site for sharing quick articles or last-minute updates to projects or events.

2. Hold monthly forums

In order to keep everyone engaged and on track with your social media training program, hold monthly forums where employees can present their latest social media projects. This is a great way to recognize successes. In addition, present failures so people can get a sense of what doesn’t work. This can provide a huge morale boost to the organization.

Within these forums, small business owners get a chance to communicate the vision of the company’s social media program. If everyone shares the same vision, efforts will be more focused, which will lead to increased productivity amongst employees.

3. Share monthly reports with all key stakeholders

Reporting is a key activity within social media, and an effective piece of the training program. If more employees understand the key performance indicators, they will have a sense of ownership for the results.

Sharing results motivates employees and increases analytical skills. This can be as simple as attaching the reports to a company-wide email or sharing them in Wikispaces.

4. Have employees attend webinars

Webinars are an effective way to share content with a large audience. Many companies offer them for free in exchange for contact information.

Gather a small group of employees and offer to block out one hour of their time each week to attend a webinar. This will get them interested in the webinars’ subjects, and might even inspire them to experiment with their newly gained knowledge.

5. Send employees to conferences

The experts say that in order to be good at social media for business you need to develop meaningful relationships. The best way to form relationships online is to bridge the digital gap and network in real life. This will increase the reach of your employees’ networks, which will turn into increased reach for your company’s content.

Conferences are an open forum for colleagues to share knowledge with each other. It would be surprising if your employees didn’t return with one or two new ideas for your social media program.

6. Allow employees to experiment with content development

Don’t be afraid to allow employees to experiment with different forms of content. Let them shoot video or write an e-book. You will boost their skills and create more content for your company.

Nick Robinson is the director of client services for Social Media HQ. A version of this article originally ran on Business 2 Community.

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