Social media policies:  Simply having one isn’t enough
Consider this: 60 percent of employees want to share relevant content on social media sites to promote the company they work for. The caveat? Only 40% of companies have a formal social media policy in place and even fewer than that provide social media training for their employees.If you are one of the many companies that still need to write a social media policy and would like more information on how to do so, check out our Blue Paper®. But read on for some helpful tips on training employees on your social media policy once it is in place.

Walk the walk
It’s not enough to simply hand out your social media policy or worse yet, post it somewhere and expect your staff to read it. You need to walk your employees through the policy, step-by-step, to ensure they thoroughly understand it. Training will set the precedent for how well your employees receive and follow the policy. Let your employees know that this training is a skill-building opportunity, not simply the top-down implementation of a policy.

Assume nothing
Don’t assume that everyone knows what social media is or the scope of its impact. Provide a brief introduction to some of the more common types of social media platforms being used such as Facebook® and Twitter®. Show employees how to set up an account and if possible, provide Intranet access so employees can practice, interact and learn together. Have magnets imprinted with information on how to connect to some of the more common social media platforms so employees have this important information available at their fingertips.

The dos and the don’ts
Be sure to provide an overview on Internet etiquette and provide clear examples of what is acceptible to do and what is not. Make training fun and interactive with a quiz show style Q & A where employees can display their answers using “yes” and “no” hand fans. Reward correct answers and participation with giveaways such as a hand-held electronics charging station or myPhone cases.

Let employees know how their social media activities can affect your business in both positive and negative ways. Social media policy training can be a great time to educate your employees on your social media strategy and the reasons your company interacts with various social media platforms. The better understanding your employees have of what your policies are and why they are in place, the less likely that issues will arise regarding policy violations. Many social media mistakes are made due to ignorance … not malice.

Reward for a job well done
Be sure to reward your staff for the successful completion of social media training. An iPad® zipper sleeve or laptop sleeve can go a long way to thank employees for their anticipated cooperation and adherence to the newly implemented policies and procedures. Consider imprinting them with the top five to ten social media policy takeaways to serve as quick reminders.

Continuing education
Remember that social media is constantly changing. It is recommended that social media policies be reviewed every six months2.  Be sure that any changes made to your policy are communicated to your staff and that additional training is planned as needed.

Successfully training your staff on your social media policy is a great way to prevent problems before they start. In the words of Sharlyn Lauby, human resources consultant and blogger for the HR Bartender, “When you give all of your employees the ability to interact with the whole world … well, then you have to provide them with some training on how to use it properly and effectively.”

“Social Media Training Is Essential for Employees.” Jumpstart:HR. N.p., 16 Apr. 2012. Web. 10 July 2012.

Jones, Jennifer Amanda. “10 Tips for Creating a Social Media Policy for Your Business.” Social Media Examiner: Social Media Marketing How To, Research, Case Studies, News and More! N.p., 9 Feb. 2012. Web. 16 July 2012.

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