7 pitfalls to avoid when choosing employees to “teach” social media to their colleagues…

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« LinkedIn? Twitter? Oh, no worries, we have a kid on our team who’s a real social media  pro! He’ll teach us his secrets! We don’t need a real trainer! »


As an estimated three-quarters of consumers say that social media influences their buying decisions*, companies are realizing that they simply don’t have the in-house social media skills needed to get the full benefit from their social media presence.

In order to bridge this skill gap, many companies are opting for “Do it yourself” internal training. As they often try to cut costs, they’re asking employees who they consider to be “social media savvy” to help get the others on board during internal company events such as morning meetings, annual conventions, and learning lunches. However, they soon realize that these one shot events don’t produce results and don’t always help to unlock missed business opportunities and lost revenue on social media.

So you’re probably wondering what is behind this?

Well, with 15,098 LinkedIn members claiming to have “corporate social media skills,” * amongst other factors, it’s easy to understand how business leaders are often misled.

So what does it take to organize a results driven social media education program and what are the pitfalls to avoid ??


Pitfall # 1: Asking employees who are « really good » at using social media…

We hear this in companies everyday: when we ask them to define « really good »,  they’re not able to give a clear answer. Our experience has showed us that many companies define “really good” as “already using social media and being comfortable with the technical aspects.”

→ Just because someone is already using social media, it doesn’t mean that they will be able to transfer their practices to their colleagues.

Pitfall # 2: Asking employees who have had no formal training background…

→ Understanding and using social media doesn’t necessarily make someone an experienced trainer who can handle different skill levels, generational issues, social media pushback and doubts, questions, etc..

Pitfall # 3: Asking millennials who don’t necessarily have the required business, market, or sector maturity…

→ Corporate social media education is strongly based on corporate social media strategy, which is linked to pure business strategy.

While millennials are obviously digital natives, not all of them possess the business knowledge and on the ground experience required help their older colleagues understand the business benefits of social media. Plus, seasoned business professionals might not take them seriously, thus possibly derailing your social media education program !

An example of this is a software multinational putting a twenty-something in charge of evangelizing Social Selling internally. While this person might be very digitally savvy, they have no sales experience and have been poorly received by internal sales teams. 

Pitfall # 4: Not getting their social media activities and skills validated by a social media training professional…

→ These « social media champions », what do their social media activities actually consist of? And how are they conducting themselves on social media? Before assigning this task to them, it might be a good idea to have them checked out by a social media training professional in order to make sure that your colleagues will be in good hands and avoid any future social media blunders!

Pitfall # 5: Not sharing the corporate social media strategy and vision with them…

→ If these corporate “social media gurus” don’t have any knowledge of the company social vision, this is dangerous as they’ll be passing on incorrect social media strategy to the others!  :-0

Pitfall # 6: Not having an accurate « job description » for the internal social media « trainer » role..

→ If you don’t have a reliable system of measuring social media skill expertise, how will you know if you’re asking the right people to « train » the others? Do these so-called social media gurus have objectives and are they getting results?  If they have no strategy and structure, they’re probably not getting results!

Pitfall # 7: Not having clear goals and social media skill integration KPI’s

→ Once again, just because employees know how to use social media, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have methods to measure social media ROI or even social media skill integration!

So, in short, this DIY method for building a corporate social media education program might seem like a good idea at first, but it might be better to take a more serious look at this. If you’re expecting results and change, you might want to consider training your internal social media champions…

Need some help setting up your corporate social media education program and training your internal champions/ambassadors ?  The Smartworking team can help you!  

*Source: Hootsuite
**Source: LinkedIn