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Jon Mowat

Hurricane Media

Managing Director

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How to train staff for social media marketing


You might not need a social media department, if you train staff with a few of the basics. Jon Mowat explains.

Companies across the globe are realising the impact their employees have on the company’s social media. Social media training has already become mandatory across a broad range of organisations. Companies like Pepsi, Adidas, Sprint, and HP have already made social media training a core part of their training programme.

Using your staff to promote your company on social media can be a great way to expand your web presence, but it is also a great opportunity for disaster. Relying on non-marketing staff to meet your social media goals is like spraying a target with a machine gun in the hopes of hitting the centre. You might hit it on occasion but a lot of shots are going to miss entirely and this could get you into trouble. There are alternatives to blasting the web with social content and commentary in this way.

  • The first is to employ a dedicated social media marketing manager who can look after all your social media accounts and act as the ‘voice’ of your company, posting content on your official social media channels.

  • An alternative to this is to use a social media marketing agency to handle your social media communications and marketing. As trained as they might be, they will still need to understand your company and the tone of voice you want to project.

  • A third method, which can actually compliment either of the above, could be to train up a small group of existing staff who you trust and understand the ethos and day-to-day activity of the company. Encourage them to use their own social profiles to promote the brand as well as responding to specific commentary on social media that falls under their expertise or remit.

Social media management is vital for your business. Whether you employ a company-wide approach to social media marketing or prefer to transition that responsibility to a single employee or a team of marketers, your staff is going to require some training. Here are some basic steps to follow in order to successfully manage the social media needs of your business.

Defining your voice

Every marketer brings with them their own personal style, and one of the first things you are going to want to do is determine the voice of the company. Whether you decide on a serious business voice or something a bit more light hearted is up to you. The important thing is to ensure your social media marketers know what kind of tone you want to project on the web to insure that you are presenting a unified image across all your social media fronts. It gives all your social media employees a common set of standards to work to and helps ground them. Think of this document as a social media manifesto for your business.

Setting your social media goals

What do you want to achieve with your virtual presence? Is it to create a better connection with the customer, increase your company’s visibility, or generate excitement for an upcoming product release? Perhaps it’s all three, but without goals your social media team may lose focus and could end up drifting from your core message into the realms of irrelevant chit-chat or worse, counter productive comments. You can alter your long-term and short-term goals as often as you like, but it is important to establish them early on.


Whilst using a single individual to run your social media presence can work well for small companies, when it comes to consistency of voice and staff management, it pays to bring in another marketing person or trusted employee to keep a close eye on what they are posting to keep them on message and add their own opinion from time to time. The more eyes you can put on your company’s social media the more ideas you will generate and the less likely it is that something unsuitable will slip through the net.

Encourage individuality but set guidelines

Just because you have set a common voice and style for your employees to follow, doesn’t mean that you want them all to sound like robots. Their styles are naturally going to vary, and you want to encourage their creativity. Creatively, however, should be tempered by guidelines to ensure employees do not overstep their positions. Some things should never be published (sharing of performance/data information, for example). Remind them that they will be held accountable for what they publish.

Never forget the invisible audience

Part of the magic of social media is that it is open to everyone. Your staff may be using it to communicate with the business’s audience, but remind them that the visibility of their words is being scrutinised by a much broader ‘invisible’ web audience. They need to be careful not to alienate current or potential customers by saying the wrong thing.

Answer everything

Whether you receive a demand, complaint, or even a threat, your marketing team has to must respond. With social media, nothing is private, others are going to see the message, and more importantly, they are going to scrutinise your company’s response. Make sure your employees are responding with respect.

Make your life easier with monitoring software

From Twitter tweets and Facebook updates to Instagram pics and Tumblr posts, it can seem impossible to keep track of your social media activity when each of these platforms is being constantly updated by numerous individuals.

Thankfully, there are a variety of tools to help you manage all of your social media accounts from one location. Although HootSuite is often considered the best option there are plenty of others available, such as SocialOomph, Tweepi, Spredfast, and Everypost. All offer slightly different functionality so shop around and try a few out before you settle on just one or two.


Jon Mowat is a former BBC documentary film maker and is now managing director of Bristol based video production and marketing company, Hurricane Media. He has written extensively on social media and video marketing. You can follow Hurricane on Google+, Twitter or Facebook or check them out on their YouTube Channel.

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Jon Mowat

Managing Director

Read more from Jon Mowat

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