The social media strategy series: Guidelines and Training


Sign up for my business bombs, mindset mastery, digital doozies and offers.

Sign Up Here!

[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.


  1. malphy says:

    Nice article. Thanks
    great post!!

  2. symorris says:

    Valuable information, Gemma. Thank you.

  3. Cyberbullying for Bloggers is common most of the time I didn’t like it when People dislike my comments. I try my very best to post nicer comments online. I use a very special nickname whenever I post comments online most of the day. I do a lot of reading.

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

    Have a blessed day,


  5. i wonder if the same guidelines presented here (and the other posts) can be applied to blogging as well? might as well try. thanks for the ideas

  6. rtcrita says:

    Great information. I am going to go back and read some of the other writings. So glad I found this site. This is a subject that I am very interested in and needed some understanding about. Thanks for the info!

  7. lsd1 says:

    спасибо))) с удовольствием прочитал))
    Смотреть фильмы онлайн в хорошем качестве

  8. straightboy2k10 says:

    too long, did not read

  9. Gemma Went says:

    Sorry about that, unfortunately there’s a lot of content to cover.

  10. Gemma Went says:

    Thanks very much, glad you have you aboard 🙂

  11. Gemma Went says:

    Absolutely, they apply to social media as a whole and blogging is a big part of that. Let me know how you get on.

  12. Gemma Went says:

    Thanks Ava, have a great day yourself.

  13. Rebecca says:

    Just stumbled across this page whilst looking for examples of WordPress sites. Really timely and useful info for me as we’re about to embark on this at our small charity. Wanted to know how to let colleagues lose on Twitter, so this is great. Thanks! PS Was interested in the e-book, but the link seems to be broken.

  14. Gemma Went says:

    Thats great news, I do like to be timely 🙂

    Here’s the link again, let me know if this doesnt work

    If you need any help, just let me know. BTW, Im speaking at a tech for non profit event on Monday, could be good for you if you’re looking into this stuff.

  15. Rebecca says:

    Thanks- that link worked. Look forward to reading it all! We’re based up in Yorkshire, but maybe you’ll blog some of the highlights? … Am excited by how many opportunities there are now for marketing on a zero budget.

  16. Hi Gemma,

    Really good post – I couldn’t agree more and stress how important the initial setup of your social media campaign is. Get that wrong or rush into it and it’s very difficult to recover.

    In this process the training becomes of paramount importance, and that’s a platform we here @3seven9 are putting together now. Like you say: ‘get everyone involved’!

    Good advice!
    Chris @3seven9

  17. This is a great set of tips to help navigate anyone through the heady world of social media. Simply setting up a twitter account will not bring instant results, and promoting yourself through multiple social media platforms requires dedication, flair and a sound strategy!

  18. Where are you speaking?

  19. sayitinasong says:

    Lots of important information here-I’m off to sign up!

  20. Gemma Went says:

    Couldnt agree more Robert

  21. Gemma Went says:

    Absolutely Chris, thanks

  22. Gemma Went says:

    Im sure there will be a few people blogging about it, including me 🙂

  23. Lauren H. says:

    I recently worked to help a small business create an online presence through social media. I read your blog, and implemented some of the ideas. It was an overall success. A great point I would like to emphasize is that it’s imperative to communicate and be sure everyone is on the same page. At first we had some conflicts between the owners and how they wanted to be presented online. One wanted a more laid-back feel whereas the other wanted to be portrayed as a “no nonsense” business. In the end we were able to compromise, and now the tweets and facebook status have been a huge sensation in creating more customers.

  24. Gemma Went says:

    Thanks for the feedback Lauren, and glad some of the content from this blog helped you. Couldn’t agree more with your point, I see this so often and have just been through this with one of my clients. Such an important point, but so often overlooked.

  25. Schnettler says:

    Wonderful post, I like your impressive blog, found you on FP.

    Please visit my interesting training blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Sign up for my business bombs, mindset mastery, digital doozies and offers.

Sign Up Here!