When you think of your employees using social media, do you cringe? For many executives and managers, social media is not something that is kept up with. It is understandable considering the social media landscape seems to be changing constantly. If you have kids, you’ve probably heard of the newer platform, TikTok by now, but if social media isn’t your cup of tea, you probably log in to LinkedIn every once in a blue moon. No matter if social media is for you or not, it’s important to include social media training in your employee onboarding. To take it a step further, it’s even more important to make sure that customer service is a key part of that training. Before we jump into our favorite part, customer service, let’s talk about some best practices of social media training.
Best Practices for Social Media Training
- Start with the end in mind. When you’re working on social media training, think about what is motivating you to provide the training. Some ideas are:
- Educating your team about your social media strategy.
- Building awareness about products or services and how they are being communicated to the public.
- Empowering your team to become brand ambassadors.
- Increasing engagement on certain channels.
- Enhancing the customer experience.
- Communicate expectations clearly. Having employees use social media can be a slippery slope. When you are creating training, be sure to have a specific module around expectations. Some ideas to include are:
- When they are allowed on social media during working hours.
- What social media channels they should be on.
- If they should have a separate profile for business use only.
- Should they interact with the public as the company via the company page or as an individual.
- What access level they should have.
- Pick one platform to train on and stick to it. You can use a classroom type platform like Google Classroom to deliver the material or you can create a shared folder in Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive. We recommend using a system that integrates with your email.
- Integrate your training with expert training. There are a lot of social media trainings that you can integrate into your own social media training program. For example, HubSpot has a free social media training and certification that you can have your employees complete to supplement classroom learning. Another place you can look at courses is Lynda.com.
- Make social media a part of your company culture. Communicate the good that social media has to offer and how it can help the company overall. Keep in mind that some people may not be in favor of using social media so remember to stay positive and communicate how it can help make a better customer experience.
Including Customer Service in Social Media Training
To create a positive customer experience, you have to make customer service a core part of your social media training. The key is to utilize social media to listen and take action. In order to do so, you have to develop a strategy. Go back to point #1 above and really put some thought into why you are creating social media training. It’s perfectly okay to have more than one reason, just remember to always keep your customer in mind as they are the key to lasting success.
With that being said, here are some key components around customer service you should consider incorporating in your social media training:
Your marketing team should have created buyer personas that you can share in your training program. These buyer personas are representations of your ideal customer based on market research and real data gathered from existing customers. Understanding who your customers are will help you determine how they want to be communicated to. For example, if your ideal customer is someone in their late 20’s chances are that they want a chatbot to be enabled on your website and they want to be able to send private messages on LinkedIn, Facebook, and/or Instagram and get a fast response – even if it’s not from a real person. Most people in their 20s want instant gratification and don’t want to pick up the phone and talk to someone. If your ideal customer is someone in their 60s, chances are they do want to speak with someone on the phone. Regardless, how the customer’s questions or issues are resolved will play a large part in their service experience and satisfaction.
A Brand Guide
Typically, when we think of a brand guide, it’s related to logos, fonts, and colors. In the case of training, you want to educate your team about how to engage with prospects and customers appropriately. Include things like the tone they are to use, words to avoid, words to use frequently, ways to acknowledge the person, etc. The way they interact with the person shouldn’t be different than the person sitting next to them. The customer experience should be the same across the board.
The Right Tools
If you are a small business, you may have your team go directly into the social media channel to monitor comments and questions. If you are a larger company or if your customers are very active on social media, you may want to consider different tools that will support your processes and house feedback that you can share with upper management. Some tools we love are HubSpot’s Service Hub which allows you to create tickets when someone has a problem with a service or product. HubSpot also integrates with Facebook Messenger and other apps to keep all your data in one place. Lastly, it allows you to automatically create workflows to include certain tasks or people and you can automatically schedule reports to go to specific people so they can monitor how long something takes to be resolved, how often a problem with a specific product or person arises, and take necessary action.
A Crisis Protocol
It only takes one really upset customer to disrupt your reputation. Therefore, it’s critical that you have a crisis protocol in place. For example, if a customer has a significant following and they visit your store that has rodents in it, pictures and a not-so-nice post can spread across Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram in no time. It’s important to monitor social media channels for this, monitor mentions about your company name using a tool like Google Alerts, and have a plan of action in place to mitigate the issue.
By having comprehensive training with processes communicated clearly, you are sure to have a positive experience for prospects and customers, even when they are trying to get an issue resolved. For more tips on how to enhance customer service using social media or implementing customer service training, consider hiring a customer service expert to help you!