A Deeper Dish on Social at Blogwell Chicago

I was excited to go to Chicago last week to attend Blogwell (and not just because I got to have delicious deep dish pizza).  It was my first time at Blogwell, and I walked away impressed. I”™ve been attending conferences about social media for a while now, and it”™s interesting to see how topics have evolved from your basic message, “How do I get started in social?”, to an in-depth look at how to implement social in a complex, corporate environment. Companies are recognizing it”™s not enough to post on your corporate social channel, just to check a box. It”™s about getting your whole organization involved in social: training, policies in place, ongoing education, etc. This was a theme at Blogwell, as many of the speakers talked about their solutions to this complex problem.  Like Renee Horne from Fedex said, social media isn”™t a fad or trend, it”™s a practice. And it”™s time we started treating it like one.


                                             Blogwell gave us a meatier look at social for the enterprise

Building an internal culture around social

Fedex knew that it needed to lay an internal foundation and expectations before they could truly adopt social media.  Horne discussed what she called “social courage”. Sometimes a community environment doesn”™t come naturally to the workplace,  and things can get uncomfortable if  people disagree about a constantly changing industry like social media. And that”™s ok. As long as there”™s a strong foundation laid with a community mindset, employees will feel more comfortable with some of the daily disagreements.

Develop a social media policy

Andy Sernovitz from SocialMedia.org provided some ideas about the ethics of social media. He gave  three guides for safe social media outreach:

            - Require disclosure and truthfulness in social media outreach

            - Monitor the conversation and correct misstatement

            - Create social media policies and training programs

It”™s important when employees speak on behalf of the company that they have guidelines for what is appropriate to say and how they should handle certain situations. Socialmedia.org provides a great template for questions to consider when creating this policy. You can find the document here, but these are examples of high-level topics:

           -Personal and unofficial social media participation

           - Truthfulness

           - Advocacy programs

           - Monitor and respond

           - Policies and training

Social media training

Once you”™ve laid an internal foundation and developed a policy, you need to train your employees. It”™s not only important to train them on social media itself, but on any products you use to aid your social media presence like an SMMS.

Fedex set up a certification program that employees completed over the course of a few months. The certification included required courses and some electives to gain knowledge on social. Right away they had 500 people sign up and receive their certification. Since then, thousands have completed the course.

Even if you aren”™t a big corporation like Fedex, you can still do this at your company. Develop training to cover what social is and what it means in your organization. Make sure to regularly update this 101-type curriculum, since things can change quickly. If it”™s relevant, you should require new employees to complete the course as a new hire task. Remember, social has moved beyond marketing and into departments like sales, HR, and customer service. Don”™t forget to include training for these employees too.

Ongoing training and guidance

So your employees are trained, but what about when Facebook changes the layout? We all know that happens at least once a quarter! It”™s important to have ongoing training of social channels and any SMMS you might use. If you have a process in place, when there”™s a change to one of the social channels, or a new channel like Pinterest is added, you”™ll be ready.

Not only should you keep your employees up to date on the latest changes in the social channels, but it”™s also important to share new thought leadership articles, and ongoing tips for best practices in social. Greg Gerik from 3M shared some exciting ways they are solving this challenge. Like Fedex, they value collaboration. They  set up workstations in their office where employees can grab a tablet and get up to date on the latest articles their content team provides. Tangible stations encourage discussion among the employees.


                                Thanks to @AbiNaumann for this sneak peek of the collaboration stations at 3M

 Not everyone has the budget to put together something as complex as this. Some other ideas to help continue training are:

           - Have a monthly lunch-n-learn where you cover new thought leadership and platform updates for the month

           - Host a quarterly social media meeting (half a day) to explain new topics and refresh on old ones

           - Have an internal forum or list serve to quickly update social media participants and stakeholders of major changes or             outages

           - Make your intranet site social! Fedex actually did this. If someone isn”™t native to social, it helps them and fosters engagement in your community

If you want to take a deeper dive into organizing and operationalizing social in your company, check out our latest whitepaper: 7 Whiteboard Sessions every social media strategist needs to have.

Are there any other problems your company has adopting social media? Does anyone else have any great solutions to these common problems? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

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