Gini Dietrich

Social Media Training Program

By: Gini Dietrich | September 16, 2010 | 

It’s supposed to be the Arment Dietrich Facebook question of the week via video, but I’m fighting some kind of flu and would rather write today than record something. Sorry. Writing is more comfortable for me…but I’ll be back next week!

But that doesn’t mean I can’t answer a question and today’s comes from Carmen Krushas. Carmen and I met several years ago when she was the director of marketing for a prospective client. Though we didn’t end up getting to work together, she quickly became a friend. Since that first meeting, she’s gone out on her own to start Fetch Plus and now travels the world as she splits her time between the U.S. and Singapore. I still have trouble figuring out where she is and what she’s doing.

She asks, “What types of training programs can companies institute to help establish proper social media programs for their company? As we know social media isn’t left for just one or two in a company, but is integrated in all areas.”

Other than hire Arment Dietrich, Carmen?!?

There are a few steps I recommend a company taking when creating a social media training program. You can do one or all of these…it’s not necessary to do all of it to have success.

1. Create a social media policy. There are plenty of examples available on the web and we’ve compiled some in Delicious that you can check out.

2. Communicate what you want to achieve by using the social tools. Do you want to engage with customers? Do you want to prospect for new customers? Do you want to find talent? Whatever it is, communicate it at all levels so everyone knows how to use the tools to help achieve the goal.

3. Consider creating a community team that includes one person from legal, HR, communications, marketing, sales, customer service, and the executive team.

4. Designate a community manager to lead that community team. This person is responsible for monitoring the web and making sure the appropriate person/people are alerted when the good, the bad, and the ugly happen. This person also is responsible for weekly meetings with the community team and for constantly communicating what’s happening on the social web and how internal employees are using the tools correctly or inappropriately.

5. Send one or two people to social media boot camps to learn how to use the tools to meet your goals (not just to use them for the sake of using them).

6. Create an internal digital training program like Intel has done and was covered in Harvard Business Review.

7. Actually use the tools. The more you use them, the better you’ll understand how they work best for you.

8. Did I mention communicate the goals? Yeah…do that again and again and again.

What tips do you have for Carmen?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • Gini– are hilarious, honest, brilliant and heaps of fun! I do miss seeing you in person, but that’s the beauty of social media–we can truly keep in touch! Your points are spot-on, thanks for selecting my question and answering back with such detail.
    Another point worth mentioning is for companies to employ social tactics internally. We have so many great tools to open these departmental walls (i.e. Yammer is an easy tool to use to keep people up to speed about the happenings in the company) that in the end will help build greater camaraderie and foster innovation (who says the marketing department is the only marketers in a company…the auditing or legal team may know quite a bit as well).

    • Carmen, yes! We also love Yammer! Great tip for adding to the list of ideas.

    • Oh Gini, super-guru, tell us –
      Do small companies (under 25 employees) really need a Commmunity Manager?

      And do you have any suggestions for the amount of time a small company should throw at social media? Does it depend on traffic? Or more goal-oriented?

      (please feel better… we already miss your crazy bicycle gear!)

      • Angie, we have less than 25 employees and we have a community manager. I wrote about the goals and what we’ve achieved in less than 90 days in our newsletter. If you go to and click on issue 14, you’ll see how we’ve managed it.

        But…our goals are to monetize content, my brain, and our expertise. So it completely depends on what you’re trying to do. If you’re not wanting to make money via the web and building communities to get there, you likely don’t need a community manager.

        • Gini, Thanks so much for the direction & advice!

  • And don’t mind my grammatical errors…it is quite late where I am! ;D cheers Gini and the Arment Dietrich team!

  • Ces

    Carmen! Singapore! That’s where the finals of Top Chef was and …. I won’t go there!

    I have been to Singapore though, and it is awesome!

    Great tips Gini!!

  • Thanks, Gini–this is a great list! It shows that planning for a social media presence is not as inimidating as it seems. However, it helps to have a team, a goal, and metrics in place to demonstrate successes and to pinpoint areas of improvement. I especially appreciate the positive feedback from on Yammer, as I’m looking into that for my company! Your weekly questions are always helpful– hope you feel better 🙂

    • Krista, we seriously love Yammer! It’s a great coaching tool for me because I can coach one person while everyone else benefits from seeing what was decided (I’m a question asker, not a problem solver) and it provides us the ability to connect quickly and easily.

      One thing I will add to the list above…it needs to come from the top down. While there are three of us that work on the digital campaigns for Arment Dietrich and Spin Sucks, I do quite a bit of the work myself. If I didn’t believe so strongly in it, we wouldn’t be going as quickly as we are. I’ve written quite a bit here about getting executive buy-in and how much time someone should spend. If you search those keywords, you’ll find the posts.

  • Hi Gini! First off I hope you are feeling better! And second thank you as usual for a great informative post. Such great advice and ironic how timely it is for me. I have been struggling with getting other staff involved in social media at my organization so this is very helpful!

    Have a great weekend!


    • Thanks Rachael…glad it was helpful! I was kind of in a fog when I wrote it (still kind of am) so I’m glad it made sense. 🙂