Today’s workforce communicates and gets information through social media. It is a mainstream communications channel.

87% of companies use and 23% of online time is spent on social media.

The more people who talk about you on social media, the further the conversation carries. Reach is determined by the number of people involved in the conversation.  And since no one engages everyone all the time, you’re better off having all your employees using social media than your are with a handful of social media specialists.

Social media is public, recorded and discoverable. So there’s tremendous upside when everyone uses it to get there jobs done. Because they leave behind a trail of digital bread crumbs that lead back to you. Starwood Hotels recently doubled the membership of their loyalty program and increased what members spend by 60% with a broad social media program than encouraged customer to share online.

Why aren’t more companies using social at the corporate level?

Fear has been holding them back. But now there’s a practical way to manage the risk associated with enterprise wide social media engagement. Through social media performance management, which combines web-based online training with assessments and certifications to qualify personnel for effective social media use.

Social media policy without training is lip service, because you can’t comply with a policy you don’t understand. And no one reads policy. You can’t protect yourself, or your organization, if you don’t understand the risks. The first question you’ll be asked in an investigation is was the employee trained.

Courts, law enforcement and regulatory agencies place value on genuine efforts taken by organizations to promote a culture of integrity and respect for the law and credit them for it in disputes. And it’s less expensive to prevent social media misuse through training than litigation.

Social media compliance training is the answer to capitalizing on the opportunity and managing risk of social media at work.  The best way for organizations to protect themselves is to make social media training part of the HR process, so everyone knows the rules.

You can’t centralize social media brand management. Applebee’s tried to manage social media communications with a four-member social media team. But when a waitress in St. Louis got fired for posting a customer’s receipt with a low tip on Reddit and the story went viral, the chain realized their strategy was flawed.  Four team members can’t look after the entire workforce. They need to learn to look after themselves.

And you can’t keep social siloed in marketing and PR.

When two Domino’s Pizza employees filmed a prank in the restaurant’s kitchen violating other health-code standards, perceived quality of their brand went from positive to negative in a matter of hours.

Bringing social media into existing training programs is the next logical step. But classroom training is expensive and ineffective for teaching computer-based skills. PriceWaterhouseCoopers says 71% of senior managers use technology for risk and compliance training.

We’re at the point now where you need to have a social strategy that goes beyond just marketing or you’re behind the curve.

The post What’s Holding You Back from Achieving Results with Social Media? appeared first on Digital Literacy by @ericschwartzman.