Empowering your social media employees
There is something to be said about a manager who is able to empower their employees. Empower them to do what they were hired to do. The best managers know how to delegate and how to instill confidence in the people around them. A successful manager allows people to grow, make suggestions, and voice opinions.
When you give an employee that power you are also giving them ownership. Ownership instills pride. Pride in work means that they will take their tasks as seriously as you take their tasks.
The two main fears I hear from management about social media are time and voice. No time to "do" social media. And fear that if they hire someone to give social media the time it needs that they won't be able to let go and give the hire ownership over the voice.
My response – trust!
So how do you build the trust and ensure you stay out of the weeds on your social channels?
Trust that you have gone through the hiring process and ended up with the best employee for the job. Hire based on skill set and based on personality match for the organization.
Need a tip for understanding if you will agree with their voice on social media? Print out a few example questions or example social media posts and ask them to tell you how they would respond. Get them to walk you through their process, ask them the people they'd engage, and have them explain the tone they would use. Some individuals will be way off – not because they're wrong but because they simple don't have the voice you're looking for online, some will bang on – clearly a fit, and some will be almost there – in this case you've at least you will have identified opportunities for training.
Don't spend time training on social media process. Hopefully you've hired someone that "gets it". Spend time on training about corporate culture, history, experience. Those are the things that make great social content. Entrench them in your communications team and allow them to develop relationships with fellow communicators. A social media hire is not just a tactician. And if you've hired "just a tactician" it means that you'll have to spend time in the weeds developing content, direction, and strategy. If you empower them to be strategic and reach out to your other employees you'll be allowing them to find opportunities to develop content. Involve them in the communication planning process so that they can be keeping their expert eye on social media opportunities – taking away that from your list of 'to dos'.
And if they lack in strategic thinking - train them on that. Strategy is an overarching skill set that can be applied to the specific area one was hired for.
Hired, trained, now let them off to the races.
Now this being said you have to recognize those that have the confidence to allow you to empower them. Some personalities, and levels of experience, will allow you to cut the umbilical cord far faster than others.
Some people need more encouragement, some have more questions, some need the double check. Have the conversation about what they need from you as a manager before letting them loose. And define your expectations of them on social channels.
My suggestion for your expectations? The 9/10 rule. Empower them to deal with 9 out of 10 questions or problems that come their way on social media and elevate 1 out of 10 to you. Let them know that of course the numbers will vary given the day, topic, or situation, but that the spirit of the 9/10 rule is trust in their social media expertise and their establishment of the voice of your company's social channels.
Social media is one tool in the communications toolkit – empowering and using that tool appropriately is key to a strong communications team. Happy hiring.
CIPR Communications can help you identify your social media needs before you hire, help your company develop a strategy once you do hire, and train your social media hire to be a strategic social media thinker as a part of the training process.
- Christina Pilarski, Chief Strategist