The social media strategy series: Guidelines and Training

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[tweetmeme]This is the penultimate post in our social media strategy series and it’s been a long time coming. This also means that the series ebook will be out in a couple of weeks for those of you that have signed up for it. If you haven’t already, pop your details here and we’ll send you a copy when its done.

The series has so far covered:

So next up, guidelines and training. An essential ingredient. Once you’ve figured out which social activities you’re going to engage in and who will be working on them, you need the right guidelines and training that allows your team to do a good job. Now, don’t think this needs to be a big nasty rule book. Your goal here is to provide the tools and knowledge they need to be able to achieve your social media strategy.


Your guidelines should cover:

  • Your objectives. Be clear why you’re using social and how it will be measured so the team understand what they need to achieve and what their KPI’s will be. The training can cover the full strategy, but I find it useful to add the objectives in the guidelines as a reminder.
  • Who the social media team is. Now, as social impacts many areas of the business, this should also include those behind the scenes as well as those on the frontline, like IT, Legal, HR etc.
  • Which social activity you’ve defined in the plan, how it will be used and how much time is acceptable to spend on it.
  • Who owns the profiles, if your team are Tweeting from their own accounts, for example, do they own those accounts or does the company? Be clear with this from the start as things could get tricky if they leave.
  • And on the subject, have a plan for what happens to the profiles once people leave.
  • What content should be shared through social media. Be descriptive here as this is important. Make it clear what content is confidential and what isn’t. Also be clear what language is acceptable. If you have brand/messaging guidelines it would be a good idea to share these so that the team fully understand your positioning.
  • If the members of your social team have different roles, be clear what they are and what’s expected of them.
  • What to do if things go wrong. List ALL possible risk scenarios and how they should be handled to make it clear (and of course make sure you have the process in place to deal with these if they happen).

Make the guidelines concise, easy to read and accessible. Here are some great examples to guide you.


Once the guidelines are done, you’re ready to train the team. If you feel confident doing this yourself great, if not get someone in to help you. The training is key as it gives your team the knowledge they need and empowers them to use social media confidently. The training should cover:

  • The social media strategy. Make sure everyone involved understands your objectives, how they will be measured, who your target audiences are what content you will be sharing and everything else in-between. You’re after understanding and full buy in here so ensure it’s easy to grasp and free of jargon. Also include how the team will be reviewed and how often.
  • Your guidelines. Again, you want full understanding and buy in from the team.
  • If their experience of social media is limited, help them by including an introduction to ensure they understand what it is and how it works.
  • Training on each activity and how it will be run. Include everything here, from profile set up and bio writing to how to use each tool in your plan. Make sure you include all the tips and tricks to make it easier to manage and if you’ve chosen tools like Cotweet, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck etc, include a full explanation.
  • Spend a little time on the content as this is often a sticking point. Show them how to find the right content to share, how to produce content, even how to write if need be.
  • How they should engage through the various channels and deal with things like negative blog comments.
  • Who is there to help them if they get stuck. This is important, your team should feel fully supported should things go wrong. You could provide ongoing coaching if that’s a requirement.

If you feel it’s necessary, arrange a few sessions over a period of time to give them the chance to feedback and discuss their findings.

Have you implemented guidelines or training for your business? If so, I’d love to hear about how it worked for you.

The final post in this series will look at Ongoing Management and Beyond.

** Update: This social media strategy series has since been pulled together and published. Download the social media strategy ebook here.



For those conscious souls ready to step up and serve. Suitable for established or new coaches.

  1. malphy says:

    Nice article. Thanks
    great post!!

  2. symorris says:

    Valuable information, Gemma. Thank you.

  3. Chocked full of great information about social media strategies — wonderful blog today.

    Have a blessed day,


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