Small business owners questioning the validity of social media training should consider the fact that, if used correctly, social media can generate new leads, attract new customers, and increase the sales produced by your business.
Many small business owners question the value of hosting social media training sessions for their staff because social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are often used by employees on a personal level, which suggests that they would be able to oversee the company’s accounts, but the truth of the matter is: 74 percent of small businesses don’t have an employee whose role is dedicated to public relations or social media efforts.
Although nine percent of small business owners believe that employing a public relations or social media expert to oversee all of their online accounts is beneficial, coordinating one to four group social media training sessions may be better for your budget. It would also help your current team understand how to use emerging platforms, which would allow your internal staff to become more productive and effective communicators over time.
Knowledgeable Employees Get More Done
According to Jeanne Meister, “Social media training is quickly becoming mandatory for an ever-growing range of companies.”
It is suggested that the growing acceptance of social media training sessions and programs is due to the increase of negative publicity stemming from public relations disasters caused by thoughtless tweets, YouTube videos, and insensitive Facebook posts from clients and employees who use social media to share opinions and content.
This is supported by Troy Larson‘s statement that, “One painfully obvious reason why companies are now developing and rolling out social media training programs is to avoid the social media disaster.” In his Business 2 Community article, Larson encourages the use of social media training sessions, stating that they “will show employees how leveraging social media can be a valuable business tool which can increase their performance and productivity.”
Performance isn’t the only thing that increases after a social media training session. In some cases, employees have stated that they feel empowered by the knowledge to effectively utilize social media platforms.
According to Gloria Burke, offering social media training sessions can create a team of advocates who are “equipped to represent their employer online.” Burke suggests that the training sessions cultivate an interest in engaging with the company online, and not only promote the brand and increase awareness of company values internally, but “empowers them to be more confident and effective in what they’re sharing.”
It’s commonly shared that, “anything can go viral,” but what isn’t shared as often is just how these viral campaigns can negatively affect large and small businesses. One negative campaign can cause a damaging decrease in sales, loss of community support, and result in costly government fines and public relations or advertising campaigns to repair your image. Considering the fact that most small businesses don’t budget for such hefty losses, small business owners should look into ways specialized social media training sessions can help employees understand what types of messages can later become a crisis for the company—not only as a preventive measure, but to prepare them for the small crises that may emerge in the future.
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