HELP TIPS: Here’s what you need for training locum social media admins


In normal times you probably have two or three people who have permission to use the corporate social media channel.

But these are not normal times.

If those two or three are not burnt out they very soon will be.

You need to enlist the help of anyone who can spell to give some relief to the people on the frontline.

Think of them as locum social media admins.

For the past 10 years I’ve been training people who aren’t comms to operate social media channels. Sometimes they’re a department or a library. Other times its the corporate account.

Here’s what I’ve learned and what you can pass on.

Regular admins: You need to stop being precious

In normal times if you’re a page admin worth your salt you take pride in the page, the tone and the engagement.

You need to cut that right out.

There is no way that anyone can be an admin for three months 24/7.

Your health and your sanity comes first and if that means a slight change of tone and emphasis when other people post then tough.

Besides, the need for business continuity by having a wider pool of skills over rides your ego and your sense of self worth.,

If anyone does shout remember they’re not shouting at you

In a time of crisis, people have lost all control of their movement, their livelihood and their health. They’re feeling vulnerable. The only control they do have is to shout at the person telling them their bin isn’t being collected. They’re not shouting at you the individual.

A triage system for working out when and where to respond

I’m pointing you towards this flow chart from Michael Grimes. I’ve used it to train people for 10 years. It’s codified common sense. It poses the question: ‘People are talking about you online, do you engage?’ If they’re sarcastic monitor. If they’re inaccurate then think about engaging. Even having a piece of paper makes people feel better. You can find it here.

Have a series of signposts

Have a stack of useful links and FAQs that the team can base their answers on. You’ll be able to deal with 80 per cent of relevant questions this way. Escalate if there’s a need to but remember that people’s time is precious. Have a list of people that you can escalate to. Have that info in a sharable format.

Give them a back-up

One thing I’ve found is that people feel stressed if they don’t have an emergency button that’s behind glass. So, if something really awful happened how can people respond? That may just be your number. Chances are they won’t use it. But it’ll make them feel more confident.

Flag up your social media house rules

I’ve long been an advocate for having house rules when it comes to social media. In other words, a list of acceptable behaviour. This is how you’ll use it as an organisation. This is how you expect people to behave. So, maybe you say you’ll be around from 9am to 5pm and won’t tolerate abuse. Make your own rules.

Yes, you can tackle misinformation

I’ve seen admins being increasingly bold in their take downs of snark and misinformation. I hold a candle for that but for someone who is being a locum admin keep it simple.

If someone is advancing something that’s just plain wrong, be FACTUAL and be POLITE. That’s all you need to be and no-one will touch you.

Use different channels for logging in

You can hire an expensive social media solution for maanging your social media if you like. You don’t have to. Ask people to log in on the works laptop and log out when they’ve finished. That way they won’t be talking about their tea in the corporate account.

Good luck.


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