Corporate Social Media Training, cookie cutter = bad

On a daily basis we receive inquiries for social media training via webinar and on-demand platforms.

The reality of the request is that most of the people want a “canned solution.”

The general reasoning goes like this:

They have a problem.
They need it fixed.
They want to buy something off the shelf to fix it.

Unfortunately when it comes to corporate social media training, nothing exist on the shelf.

There isn’t a single cookie-cutter item that can be universally applied to a corporate footprint that doesn’t cause more problems than it is worth.

Typical examples include Facebook 101 and Twitter 101.

Sounds easy right?

No way!

Some core problems:

1-  Facebook and Twitter change so many elements on a quarterly basis that entire sections of ’101′ material change with them. If you haven’t included a process for tracking, managing, and evolving employee usage you can’t even know how far past the expiration date your employees are.

2-  The basic 101 coursework feeds into social media policy and social integration tactics.Many organizations don’t have any social media policies or holistic integration plans in place. If I’m trying to help you train a team to understand social media I had best point out there isn’t a roadmap to follow.

3- The social media training request is probably marketing oriented. There is typically little understanding to connect social business concepts across the entire organization. This core problem limits ROI from a training program and sets different teams up for failure.

4- The organization doesn’t understand who internal and external social media influencers are and what is happening behinds the scenes. This means that there is little validation for people ‘doing it right’ in the industry when they could in fact, be doing it wrong, illegally, or immorally. Sometimes the most popular names in social media are breaking all the rules (and those rules can get you in really deep trouble.)

5- The business cogs driving the underlying need for the corporate social media training have not been identified. The larger the corporation is the more business consideration points need to be integrated into the social media training regiment.

Understanding Distributed Teams

As you look at thousands of employees and an equal number of partners, vendors, consultants, clients, and prospects you begin to see dozens of silos that need to address specific social media training issues.

A cookie-cutter approach being applied to the entire group of partners, vendors, consultants, clients, and prospects creates ineffective and generalized curriculum that is off-topic and out-of-date.

This issue continues to escalate as you detail executive, management, and workforce layers within each national, regional, and departmental silo.

 Applying basic models of Social Media Training

I typically recommend an evaluation of internal and external marketplace assets to create social media training and management processes.

A basic three step process:

–          Identify mission critical business impacts (opportunities / risks)

–          Identify social media savvy users
(executives, employees, partners, team members, community)

–          Create best practices and training framework

The overall breakdown of social media training also works from a top down and bottom up perspective based on getting the right detail to the right level of the organizational pyramid. You need to weigh the training cost and personal development budget against the value of the employee and business impacts they mange.

  • Leadership and executive team (private training)
  • General management (policy and process group training)
  • Workforce (large presentation training / webinar / on-demand)


In many cases marketing or public relations controls the ‘social media steering wheel’ in an organization.

During the business impact portion for opportunities and risks you need to define…

– what elements marketing/PR teams are doing.

– the types of organizational tools they currently have.

– what best-in-class platforms they need.

– what action indicators/budget impacts need to be monitored.

– what project overlapping project time frames are

Assessing adoption

Once a not-so-basic training structure is setup and the proper business impacts are noted, the goal of social media training is the ability for team members to make more effective business decisions with less effort. This includes enhancing basic awareness of the proper tools, the reduction of risks across the organization, and the ability to grow revenue opportunities.

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