How to bridge the social media skills gap
Are you or your sales and marketing teams struggling to keep up with ever-changing social media tools or unsure how to leverage social channels effectively? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, the ‘social media skills gap’ is has become a major point of concern.
In a Harvard Business Review survey, only 12 percent of the 2,100 companies said they’re using social media effectively and more recent research by Capgemini Consulting revealed that ‘nine out of ten businesses reported that their employees don’t have the necessary social media skills to use social networks as a business tool.
At its root is the fact that using social media for business requires an entirely different approach to posting on your personal pages. A new employee may be an enthusiastic and active user but that doesn’t mean they’ll ‘naturally’ know how to devise a channel and content strategy for your small business, or that sales teams in large enterprises will know the rules of engagement with prospects via social.
Bottom line is that many businesses are not only failing to take advantage of the latest tools and technologies as soon as they land but also lack knowledge of basic best practice guidelines.
The skills gap continues to grow as social media evolves – and staff training continues to fall far from the radar.
How brands are using social media in 2017
Today, nearly a third of the planet’s population are social media users, and so, businesses are increasingly turning to these platforms to connect with their customers. The use of social media in the work place is changing and employees are being asked to use it in more numerous and unfamiliar ways.
As reported by Hootsuite, social tools are being used to streamline customer service, drive sales, improve HR processes, and build employee brand advocacy programs.
However, social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are constantly varying their features and companies are having trouble keeping up as they lack formal training and education programs.
It’s a fast-moving business
How have the social media platforms changed over the last 12 months?
Over the last year alone, social media has seen several new advances and developments which are being implemented gradually across all platforms. These changes and trends include:
Social Ecommerce: Most of the social media platforms now enable their users to purchase products from within their apps. Over 75% of consumers are influenced by social media when making a purchase
Live Video: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube all allow users to take a 360-degree live video to enable them to interact with their followers in real time
Ephemeral Content: This is content which only stays on the platform for 24 hours. Snapchat was the first platform to introduce this, followed by Instagram who launched Instagram Stories in 2016
News Platforms: More than 90% of people use the internet to access news, especially millennials. Businesses are increasing turning to these platforms to share news, including job openings
Artificial Intelligence: A key user of AI is Snapchat via its facial filters. And, it goes without saying that the other social networks, notably Facebook and LinkedIn, are investing in their own AI technologies
Personalised Content: More and more users want to see content that is relevant to them, offering them a more personalised experience. For this reason, businesses have started using targeted ads via Facebook in order to reach the right audience
Closing the social media skills gap – the big challenges
Although many companies have recognised social media literacy as a critical job skill and are beginning to offer training programs, the challenge of teaching social media in an environment where it is changing daily, remains.As few employees have time for in-depth courses and training, ultimately, most companies are out-sourcing their digital and social media needs to companies and agencies who are well immersed in the social and digital media space. These agencies can provide a targeted social media strategy utilizing the correct social platforms and social tools.
The smartest way to manage your social media is to work with an agency as an extension of your in-house team. You don’t necessarily need to pay an agency to post content and be responsible for community management but you most likely will need a clearly defined strategy to get you up and running.While it makes great commercial sense to run social in-house, seeking consultancy support to devise the best channel and content strategy for your brand’s audience and business goals will substantially raise your game.
Your agency should be able to provide a social media playbook – your toolkit for success – and help create content for key campaigns. They should also ensure you stay up to date with all the emerging tools and technologies.
Do you need social media support services you can dip into – without being locked in to a retainer? We offer flexible consultancy and cost-effective training solutions and workshops for in-house teams. Talk to us.