SMaC University Turns 3: Social Business Lessons

A recent McKinsey report stated that “Organizational social-media literacy is fast becoming a source of competitive advantage.” It’s no longer a question of whether or not companies should adopt social media, but rather “how” business leaders and organizations can develop new social media skills. Dell’s answer to “how” came three years ago, with the launch of Social Media & Communities (SMaC) University — an internal training & certification program to drive social business.

Since then, the program has grown into a full-fledged educational institution. SMaC University courses focus on activating employees in the workplace around social media, strengthening customer relationships, and generating long-term business value for Dell. After enrolling in the comprehensive curriculum – ranging from foundational courses to advanced degrees — executives, individual contributors and key partners can engage in on the job training and learn from thousands of influential alumni.


Infographic: Social Media and Community University at Dell from Dell Social Media

How SMaC University Training & Activation Helps Boost Social Business:

      • Social impacts all parts of the business. Certified employees work to integrate social media into product development, marketing, online, sales, customer service, communication and HR.
      • Social is growing as an engagement platform. CEOs predict social media will become the #2 platform for customer engagement, ahead of websites and call centers (IBM CEO Study, 2012).
      • Social connects employees with their work. Effective use of social technologies could improve employee productivity by 20-25 percent (Harvard Business Review, 2012).
      • Social encourages employees to share company content. Employees share eight percent more company-related URLs and six times the amount of Dell information on their personal accounts compared to corporate accounts (SociaLook Study for Dell, 2012).

Two secrets to SMaC University’s success:

      • Empower your employees, and make social media strategy fun.
        • Communicate your strategy: Identify the actions you want employees to take, and where they can best engage your customers.
        • Create internal evangelists: Involve existing social media practitioners in the content development process, and ask them to share best practices and participate in pilot classes.
        • Hire funny people that love what they do: @SeanCareyatDell’s Twitter handle speaks for itself – he combines his 10+ years of training expertise with the energy and fun he brings from his stand-up comedy and theatre background.
        • Reward and recognize: Following completion of SMaC certification or one of our advanced degrees, our employees receive an official diploma — and are encouraged to show their new status within their email signatures, Dell’s corporate directory, and their LinkedIn profiles
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      • Go beyond the initial training. 
        • Expertise is acquired on the job. Most learning and development experts agree that 90 percent of your development comes from on the job experiences and feedback — compared to only 10 percent from training.
        • Connect and network with alumni. Look for ways to continually connect with class attendees, give them opportunities to participate outside of their specific role, and create custom programs for key groups (ex. #SocialSME Program).

With 8,800+ certified global team members and more than 16,500 unique course attendees from 55 countries, I’m proud to say SMaC University has only gotten better with age! Our training program has grown tremendously, and we continue to look for new opportunities to help employees strengthen our social business, and listen and engage with our customers.

Happy 3rd Birthday, SMaC University!

Contact me at [email protected] or on Twitter @AmyTennison if you’d like to learn more about global social training & activation at Dell.

Also, see a full case study on Dell’s social business success story in Cheryl and Mark Burgess’ new book, The Social Employee: How Great Companies Make Social Media Work.

Amy Tennison

Amy Tennison

Dell Contributor at Tech Page One
From traveling around the world to educate Dell employees on social media, consulting with business leaders and even emceeing a high school prom…the past 7 years have been interesting to say the least. In 2010, I co-launched Dell’s Social Media & Community University (SMaC U) designed to train and active employees around social media best practices for business. Since then we’ve certified over 8,100 employees in 52 countries and our program is heralded as "best in class" by Forrester Research. After nurturing our core employee training program from infancy to maturity, I shifted focus to helping our Subject Matter Experts and Executives become active social thought leaders around key Enterprise solutions. Prior to this role, I developed grassroots marketing campaigns, social media strategies and event sponsorships for Dell’s student discount program including Dell Superprom. Through it all, I’m passionate about helping individuals share their passions via social technologies. My degree is in Advertising and Communication Design.
Amy Tennison
Amy Tennison
Tags: Business,Social Media