I have to admit that since I’ve thrown myself into the deep end of the compliance field, I may have gotten a bit narrow-minded, especially when it comes social media. When social media came up in my MBA Information Technology class, the only word that came to mind was RISK, flashing in my head like ambulance lights. This was rapidly followed by the words POLICY and TRAINING, as well as a stern tone that I’m sure my classmates found very off-putting, since the general tone of the class up until that point had been, “Social media is fun! The payoffs are so great! It’s like it was sent to us by angels!”
Thankfully this article by Phil Mennie crossed my radar before I completely lost it, “Do you think policy is the only way to manage social media risk?” Well duh, NO. But it’s easy to forget sometimes that policy and training aren’t the only ways to solve a problem, mitigate a risk, rescue the world.
Phil presents a fuller picture of social media governance, of which only a small part is social media training and social media policy. He breaks it down in to 7 components social strategy, social governance, social resilience and crisis management, data privacy and control, regulatory compliance, social media policy, and policy awareness and social media training.
For Your Social Media Training to Be Effective, You First Need…
1) A social strategy. As Phil himself points out, you may wonder what this has to do with governance, but you can’t come up with effective rules until you have a clear goal in place. If your rules make it impossible to achieve your goals, or your strategy can’t be implemented without some rule-breaking behaviors, well… Both your social media policy and social media training are doomed, as is your social strategy.
2) Someone who owns social media. The owner is the key to social governance, as s/he will allow for clearer decision-making regarding processes, policies, and changes. This person will also be in charge of monitoring social media, as well as measuring ROI.
3) Social crisis management. Remember IndyCar? Dominos, Taco Bell, Burger King? Yeah. That’s why you need crisis management; so just in case something goes wrong you’re prepared to respond quickly, appropriately, and with minimal brand damage.
4) Data privacy and information security training, and the tools to back it up. This is where you teach your employees which information is confidential or potentially sensitive, what’s safe to share and what’s not. You also need to educate employees on your password policy. A good social media management tool can help you with this – we use Buffer and we love it. Most social management systems have a way to filter out profanities, or to filter anything users post through an editor to avoid potentially damaging posts to be filtered out in the approval process.
5) Compliance training. Yep, regulatory compliance isn’t just for the compliance team anymore! (Surprise!) Do your social media marketers know the regulations that affect social media in your industry? What about the difference between market sensitive information and information that can be freely shared? The line can be blurred sometimes, so make sure your social media training covers the relevant regulations.
6) A social media policy. Hooray! I wasn’t just going off the deep end – this is still a critical part of protecting your organization from social media risk. However, your policy should cover all of the above characteristics in a way that’s easy to understand. Even more importantly, it should be easy to access for all employees.
7) Policy awareness and social media training. As Phil so excellently put it:
“There’s no point in having an excellent policy if nobody knows where to find it or even knows it exists in the first place!”
So true, Phil, so true. Your social media training needs to emphasize all of the key points above, and present scenarios that your employees are likely to encounter. I’d like to add that it should also be interactive, preferably with a quiz component that allows you to test employee knowledge. Testing employees after training allows you to identify parts of your policy that may be unclear, so that you can tailor the wording and presentation of the policy to make the meaning clear.
Does your organization follow these best practices? Is there anything else you would add?
I’d love to hear about it in the comments!