There are two basic questions brands usually ask when considering adding a new service to their budget: "will this make us money?", or "will it save us money?" A recent study from Altimeter on the value of social media education revealed that training your personnel to use social media responsibly can do both.
The data concluded that social media education has two basic values:
1. Safety: to protect the brand from social media risk. Over half of the respondents in the Altimeter research reported experiencing at least one social media incident or violation of the brand’s social media policy that had reputation-damaging potential in the last year. Results from a 2013 College Sports Information Directors of America survey showed similar numbers in college athletic departments. New incidents of internal social media screw-ups bombard the news on a regular basis. The bottom line impact of these negative events can damage well-formed reputations as well as pocketbooks.
2. Increasing the internal forces that can foster fan advocacy and engagement. Social media education can empower your staff, executives, coaches, teachers, and student-athletes to represent your brand in a way that builds a force of loyal fans. Everyone in your organization becomes the face of your organization online.
Altimeter’s research went on to describe four components of social media education that will accomplish your goals, from the basic risk mitigation side all the way to teaching people how to use social media to drive business operations:
- Social media policy training – it’s for everyone. The basics of how to use social media without getting into trouble or violating an organizational policy. Goal: impart judgment.
- Social media instruction – the basic 101 courses on how to use social media for those employees you want to empower that don’t have social or digital in their job description. This may be frontline people who answer the phones or emails, executives, head coaches, development people, or anyone who has a personal brand.
- Social media leadership development: this component trains heads of specific departments or teams that might be called on to use social media as part of their job. This training shows people how to integrate social media into business operations such as raising donors, selling tickets, customer service, etc.
- Executive training. This is advanced training for leaders who are helping form the strategic direction of the brand. It’s basic goal is learning how to use social media to drive business.
Whether you choose to incorporate just the basic risk mitigation piece for everyone, or get more focused with training others to connect via social to drive business goals, it’s clear that social media is a vital weapon in your brand’s arsenal. Social media education is a wise investment in your bottom line.