Imagine sending one of your staff members to a press conference without any notice, without telling them what to talk about. Just train them about what a press conference is and how it works. Then hope for the best.
Yeah, it's like that.
It is easy to memorize a speech and post prepared content. It is not easy to manage a community and reply to the tough questions.
We can spend as much time as we want training people how to use social media, how it works, how to create good content, but do we prepare them for the questions, flashing cameras, criticisms and onslaught of a press conference?
In social media you have to expect some unhappy people, some trolls (people who like to complain and start fights) and some mistakes. Do we do enough to make our staff ready?
In our trainings we focused on what our staff were already comfortable with. We started with talking about what people call about the most. We then talked about what are the most common and most difficult questions they get in their onsite comment boxes. We asked them to think through their replies that they use in person. Then we helped translate those to an online situation.
The big trick is deciding when to reply, how much to say and knowing when to take it offline.
One big thing we emphasized was to not to jump to deleting a post or banning a user. Can you say backfire?
Our training was two parts.
Motivation - First we used the Air Force blog response chart to talk about how to understand WHY people are commenting. Because understanding motivation is key to the reply.
That was our idea of how to prepare them.