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The 5 Critical Social Media Skills You Need to Disperse

Your customers, prospects, and the people looking for you online don’t care about your company structure. If they find you on Twitter, or leave a comment on your blog, they’re looking for a response from anyone who can help, regardless of what department that person represents or what someone’s official job title is.

Everybody in your company is in marketing, whether they want to be or not.

The people in your company today should have the characteristics and confidence to succeed in this environment. Let the ubiquity and speed of communication empower your staff to act and be helpful, no matter where they are on the organizational chart.

Social media and real-time business affects every employee in your organization in some way. Your official social media team—the people tasked with developing and maintaining your social outposts and real-time customer connectivity—are a critical part of your approach. But the rest of your employees are equally important to consider, as many of them will have to incorporate some measure of new responsibilities into their existing job functions.

Increasingly, social media needs to become a skill, not a job.

Here are five skills that should be present within as many people in your company as possible:

5 critical social media skills you need to disperse 1 The 5 Critical Social Media Skills You Need to Disperse

Brand Immersion and Representation

Once upon a time, the only people who really needed to “get” your brand were the ones who built its external facade: marketing, public relations, and corporate communications. Now you need to give everyone some guidelines but also the freedom to articulate and represent your company in their own authentic way.

Success Metrics

Although only a small group of employees will likely be responsible for specifically measuring the impact of your social media initiatives, the best programs are those that share those metrics with all employees. (Imagine if the only person who knew the score of a football game was the coach.) Sharing that information can help people feel connected, feel invested in the outcome, and understand how their work is making a difference.

Listening

Having a finger on the pulse of how social media and the activity within it affects your company, your department, and your industry is a universal responsibility. Soon, it won’t be enough to have just a centralized “listener” and you’ll need each division and department (and the people within them) to be listening for their own unique purposes.

Internal Wiring and Story Harvesting

Your company must be able to communicate stories seamlessly whenever opportunities arise. It can be difficult to have enough breadth if just one or two people are seeking stories, so let everyone contribute, from the reception desk to the manufacturing floor to the IT department. Build great internal communication, and give people the tools to share ideas, experiences, and expertise.

Engagement

Your social media representatives will do most of the online communication with your customers and prospects—but not all. The current is sometimes too swift and the river too broad for one or two social media specialists to manage all the online touch points. The rest of your team can help by knowing how and where and when to engage, too. Build education and training programs for those who want to get involved, and help them be part of the effort.

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Convince and Convert Blog  Social Media Strategy and Social Media Consulting » 5 Attributes of a Healthy Real Time Culture The 5 Critical Social Media Skills You Need to DisperseThis is the second in a 7-week blog post series covering themes included in The NOW Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter, and More Social - my new book with Amber Naslund, debuting February 1 (pre-orders and first chapter for free available now).

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  • http://www.josephwesley.com Joseph Wesley Putnam

    Here’s my question: is it necessary to answer people’s questions as an official representative of the company? It seems like allowing employees to answer questions without making the answers official is much more low pressure. What do you think?

  • http://www.josephwesley.com Joseph Wesley Putnam

    Here’s my question: is it necessary to answer people’s questions as an official representative of the company? It seems like allowing employees to answer questions without making the answers official is much more low pressure. What do you think?

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  • http://www.abnormalmarketing.com/ fionabosticky

    The suggestions in this article are a good idea in theory, but in reality, it’s a bit like a pipe-dream. Most companies here are only just starting to understand social media and why they should be involved.

    I think if I turned around and told them everyone in their company, division, etc… should have elements of social media engagement built into their jobs, they would freak out!

    I think the first step for most businesses is to appoint someone in their company who WILL start listening, or engage the services of a business who will listen for them, and report back, so that they can respond.

    Also, I don’t think all employees in a company are qualified to engage customers, or know how to do it properly. That said, I do think all employees need to be made aware of their company “Social Media Policy” detailing how they can engage online and what they must be careful doing.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      True enough. Not suggesting this is how everyone needs to do it now.
      But eventually, yes. When that day comes will depend on the company,
      its culture, and its objectives.

  • http://www.josephwesley.com Joseph Wesley Putnam

    Jay, just wanted to let you know that your blog is awesome. I’m a little more than slightly jealous. Great work. It’s very well put together.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      Thanks! I appreciate that.

      Jay Baer
      (via iPhone)

  • http://twitter.com/teacherjim Jim Walker

  • http://twitter.com/teacherjim Jim Walker

    I am interested in how education needs to adapt these skills. We are getting hammered by the media, politicians, parents, for not being at the top of the international testing lists. When you look beneath the headlines and compare US schools head-to-head with comparable schools in other countries we do top the list. Education needs to do a better job of pointing out their accomplishments while not dismissing real needs to improve.

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  • http://www.margieclayman.com Marjorie Clayman

    I am very interested in the definition of Social Media as a skill rather than a tool. My brain is kind of torn on it. When I read it initially it really resonated, but then it’s also kind of hard to get your brain around. Is having a presence on Twitter more a skill set than a tool?

    To me, the skill would be in how to use the tool. I think of Social Media as say the tools of a mason or a carpenter. We may think, “oh, sure, a hammer. I get it.” But you can’t just walk up and build a wall. There’s something that happens there that gets you to the point where the tools become a means to an end, and the skill is what drives that engine.

    Very interesting indeed.

  • http://getBRANDWISE.com daleberkebile

    Great article. I love the concept of the sporting event and scores. You are dead on all people need to know the score of the game. I think it is very important for all to know how there part fits into the bigger picture of the business or marketing efforts and all this should be tied to the company’s vision and goals so that you can make the marketing more measurable and can track the ROI of even things like social media.

  • http://twitter.com/alfonsodilieto Alfonso Di Lieto

    A bible for a media company who want to start growing engagement with its custormers… But a problem, maybe, is that sounds a difficult thing – for some owner – to “share” sensible information and kwon-how for more business to all employees,,,

  • http://www.ferreemoney.com/blog Social Media Marketing Plus

    Excellent post! This model resonates well for those like me looking for innovative ways to engage my target audience and readers. USG (user generated content) is a great asset to build, ne it a WP blog, forum, or Disqus comment engine. Strong work Jay!

  • Anonymous

    The definition of social media as a skill instead of a job is of great importance! Increased innovation to engage the target audience is something that should be taken care of by all agencies big or small!

  • Anonymous

    The definition of social media as a skill instead of a job is of great importance! Increased innovation to engage the target audience is something that should be taken care of by all agencies big or small!

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