Agencies Should Require Publicists to Attend a Social Media ‘Hell Week’

While most publicists understand the importance of educating themselves on all things social media, there is still a large number of professionals that do not have that same mentality. I can’t tell you that why that’s the case, perhaps it’s the new school versus old school (no pun intended) way of thinking, but getting employees up to speed on social media should be just as important to an agency as it is keeping current clients happy and pursuing new business.

So realistically, what can agencies do? Can they force employees to read books on SM? Give assignments to follow Chris Brogan’s blog or have them monitor Robert Scoble’s tweets? Assign quarterly reports on which brands have the best SM campaigns? I certainly don’t run my own agency and I haven’t done the research on what effects this type of program might have on company morale, but my short answer to these questions is a resounding YES … current and future employees should be required to do all of these things, and more. The positives of putting your staff through a ‘Hell Week’ type of SM program far outweighs the negatives, in my opinion.

Here’s a short list of some of the reasons (just that I have to do this goes to show that not everyone is on-board with SM) why becoming engaged in SM is necessary for every student and PR professional:

  1. Regardless of how big or small a client may be, they can’t afford (financially and otherwise) to not be educated on the types of SM opportunities available
  2. It doesn’t matter if the company you represent is B2B, consumer, financial, tech, healthcare, or any other industry you can think of. From monitoring tools to lists of who are the most influential people in their respective industry, they should all have SM built into their program.
  3. Every member of a client team should be able to provide appropriate counsel when a client asks a question about whether or not they should have a Twitter handle, Facebook page, LinkedIn group, corporate blog, etc. At the very least, you should be able to intelligently respond to them even if you don’t have an answer at that time.
  4. When looking for your next job or just graduating from college, HR and senior-level executives are definitely going to be looking for SM experience on your resume.
  5. Just like when publicists started using e-mail, SM is here to stay

We know that not every publicist is going to take the initiative to learn on their own time, so by creating the type of environment where staff can become better educated on new communications tools/platforms/networks, agencies can go a long way in making its employees more successful, which will in turn make the agency a more profitable, enjoyable workplace.

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