Social Media may have become “flavour of the month’ as the ultimate tool for gaining more business since the downturn but Andrew Rayner, co-founder of e-mphasis has expressed his concern over the pletora of self-appointed social media experts, trainers and consultants that have appeared from no where, claiming to help businesses master the maze of social media.
 
Rayner believes that many of these so-called experts could be more of a hinderance than help by taking advantage of the fear culture that exists within organsations when it comes embracing social media. He believes that for most organisations, there isn’t a unique ‘social media strategy’ that needs to be taught and argues that many employees have the skills already to define the style and approach they should take to outbound communications.
 
“People have a good level of expertise alreay thanks to sites like Facebook, and so it many cases it is unnecessary for businesses to invest large sums in training users in social media in order to introduce it into the marketing mix – it is integral and additional to their existing style and approach,” says Rayner.
 
Whilst Rayner agrees that employees do need to train their social media skills out more widely, he does not believe that they need hours of training in the specific use of tools. He also believes that as outbound communications becomel increasingly decentralised, training budgets should be ploughed into helping employees understand exactly how to execute the corporation communications policy and prevent damage to the brand.
 
“Businesses will need to get used to their people being able to communicate directly with their customer online. Rather than be fearful of it they need to embrace the opportunity it presents, understand the skills their employees already posess and guide them towards engaging in an appropriate style that matches their business image. Very few Social Media Experts will teach them how to do that in my opinion,” adds Rayner.