29th May, 2013

Social Media is in Your Own Hands

In the world that we live in today, some things you just can’t ignore, if you do, you’re probably feeling left out from the rest of the world in terms of moving forward. In this article I’m going to be giving an insight into whether business owners and marketing managers actually need to go on social media training courses. There is no right or wrong answer to this but at least you will be able to make a better decision before splashing the cash for this sort of service.

Social media, whether it be on the web or on mobile, is an industry being talked about on a daily basis, sometimes you’re involved when you don’t even realise it. The point being, you can access pretty much any information using social media. There are many social media courses out there which can cost very little up to literally thousands of pounds per course or per day. If you’re looking into this, you need to make sure the course covers what you’re looking to gain and achieve in the long run.

Where Should you Start?

The first mistake with a lot of people is when they hear that they should learn about social media, they automatically think ‘I’m going to be amazing at using Facebook and Twitter’. Anybody can be good at using Facebook and Twitter, that’s a fact, at the rate social media is getting popular, your kids (if you have any) will probably be better at it than you in a few years time! However, after simply searching for ‘social media training’ into Google, I found that there was a general trend in which a lot of social media training companies were breaking down what services are offered.

Quite a few of the first stages were ‘how to use monitoring tools’, ‘the background of Facebook and Twitter’ and so on.  Have people got the wrong idea about how social media should be used as a marketing strategy? Possibly. If you have enquiried about a training course and the first steps are how to use specific social platforms, then you might want to look elsewhere. Why? If you’re going to learn and in turn, implement a social media strategy against your own company, learning about Facebook and Twitter’s funcationalities can be done by reading and practical work, you can save money!

Starting From Scratch

The most important aspect of social media is to understand the business, communications, branding, vision, how to create engaging content and then finally how to engage with potential customers on your platforms e.g. Facebook and Twitter. The use of tools should come slightly further down the line.

There’s no point learning about how Twitter works, you need to learn how the business should work when using social media. We encourage directors and marketing managers to first think about their communication styles. What we mean by that is how your company wants to be perceived as a brand, whether that’s fun, professional, educational, or all three! This way you can gather ideas on how to create a social media strategy using well thought out content ideas.

So Should You Do it?

Again, like most of these topics we talk about, there isn’t a right or wrong answer, its about choosing what’s right for your company. All I can say is, if you already know how to use the tools, don’t bother paying an expensive fee for something you already know how to do. If you’re new to social media and its platforms or tools, my advice would be to read. There’s loads of magazines, books and online blogs full of great information which can give you the full outline of how particular platforms and tools work. As well, it’s about doing it physically; if you’re not actively using Facebook or Twitter, start by dedicating 10-20 minutes each evening to having a mess around; being hands on with social media is the best way to learn. To conclude, there is enough material out there for you to learn expertly yourself.

A good social media company will tell you what they’re doing. So the alternative is to outsource your social media, therefore you don’t have to worry about it as much as you’re paying someone to complete the campaign for you. A transparent social media agency should outline what they’re working on and how it’s going to be completed on a daily basis. So even if you aren’t a social media guru, you can look to outsource the work and a good company will educate you in what they’re doing as they go along.

Some Pros

Corporate businesses may look to go down the training route if they have a big team. Making social media quite a high priority is important, but many companies will struggle to find time for it. If you have a team of a dozen employees dedicated to the social media cause, but need to be taught how to do so first, then paying for social media training courses is a good route to go down, depending on a company’s budget. A good social media training course should outline these key areas:

a) Business Research – Brand perception and communications, i.e how you want people to perceive your brand.

b) How content has become the heart of what your learning – Content sits firmly as the core of social media and search.

c) An introduction into popular social platforms and its functions i.e Facebook, Twitter, Google plus etc.

d) How to complete an effective social media strategy – Useful tools i.e Hootsuite, Tweetdeck


But overall, it’s not enough to simply know about ‘social media’ in order to effectively achieve brand awareness and ROI. A business strategy is far more important than training how to use social media tools and should always be at the forefront of your mind.

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