Monday, July 23, 2012

How to get social. Stat.

By guest blogger Michelle Ryan.

Social media. Sick of hearing about it? Well, you'd better get used to it, because it's not going anywhere but up.

In fact, regardless of what business you're in - whether in financial services, retail, manufacturing, FMCG etc - the influence of social media is growing, and its impact on your company shouldn't be ignored. Or if you do, you do so at your own peril.

That might sound dramatic. But you need only look at where most news is broken these days - via social media - to realise this is where consumers are living and playing. So to not be part of it would be to ignore your current and potential customers.

So how to get up to speed with social media quickly?

You may have heard us recommend using social learning to get yourself, your colleagues and, ultimately, your business comfortable with using social media ... for the benefit of your company.

In this post, I want to take a very quick look at 'why' you should explore social learning.

What's in it for you?

If we take the impact of social media as a given, then our next step is how to make social work FOR you - and not the other way around. And doing this involves one key element: training. When it comes to training, social learning is pretty much best practice. In short, it allows you to combine expert teachers, with your own home-grown 'experts', otherwise known as your staff, to teach and learn from each other. 

This great info-graphic goes through what such training might involve for different people in the business. Remember: not all employees are created equal. So in order to train them effectively it might be best to separate them into groups based on their web literacy i.e. the digital native vs. the digital contrarian.

Where to from here?

In terms of the benefits of social learning - don't just take my word for it, take that of some of the absolute global best practice in this space.

In this article, Dell, Intel and Constant Contact talk about building social media through this kind of training. In particular, Dell talks about its 'unconferences' which it has used to train more than 5,000 employees - using experts and employees to drive the session topics.

Meanwhile, PepsiCo call their training Social Media and Responsibility Training - or SMART U. Employees said they'd love to share their PepsiCo pride, but they wanted Pepsi to explain the social media policy first. So they did. And they also educated them on social media tools such as Twitter, giving them lots of examples to help them tell the story. Which they then did.

If these examples inspire - and you are keen to give your own internal social media conference a try - this post will give you some tips on how to get started.

Michelle Ryan is an Account Manager for BlueChip Communication.

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