Employers need to boost social media training

HR gives low marks for effectiveness: Survey
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 11/18/2011

Few employees tasked with social media duties are trained to do so by their employer, according to a survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of employers do not provide social media training to employees engaged in social media outreach to external audiences, found the Social Media in the Workplace survey of 532 HR professionals from its membership. Twenty-seven per cent of employers do provide such training.

Most organizations (68 per cent) have employees who use social media to reach external audiences such as customers and potential employees. Nearly one-third, or 32 per cent, of organizations do not use social media to further the organization.

“The survey data show a disconnect in that most organizations use social media to reach audiences yet few train employees to effectively do so,” said Mark Schmit, vice-president of research at SHRM.

The lack of social media training may explain the low marks for effectiveness. Few HR professionals rated social media a “very effective” mechanism for achieving goals such as sharing content, improving brand awareness or increasing website traffic.

Most reported social media to be a “somewhat effective” mechanism but a notable amount report it to be “neither effective nor ineffective,” found SHRM.

When asked, “Over the last 12 months, how effective were your organization’s social media efforts as a mechanism for the following?” respondents replied:

Outreach goal

Very effective

Somewhat effective

Neither effective or ineffective

Share content

19%

48%

25%

Boost brand awareness

16%

54%

21%

Boost website traffic

16%

53%

23%

Customer engagement

15%

57%

18%

Grow email list

14%

42%

34%

As for which groups are engaged in social media activities on behalf of their organization to reach external audiences, marketing was first (67 per cent), followed by human resources (44 per cent), public relations (38 per cent), sales (24 per cent), management (20 per cent) and customer service (15 per cent).

The survey defined social networking services and multimedia platforms to include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. Also included is MySpace, Foursquare, Second Life, photo-sharing applications and video-sharing sites other than YouTube.

Those organizations that use social media tend to use four sites: Facebook (45 per cent), LinkedIn (34 per cent), Twitter (28 per cent) and YouTube (18 per cent). The other types of social media and multimedia platforms are used by no more than eight per cent of organizations represented in the survey.

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