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Social Media Courses – What would you include?

I regularly present to businesses and other organisations on the value of social media and the changes taking place in the way we communicate and do business.

Understanding that there is a real need for training in this area my attentions have turned to establishing the areas avid social media see as most important and what they feel should be included in presentations or training courses on the subject.

Using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter I posted the question below and received some great responses from the social media community. Do you agree or disagree with the comments so far? Do you have an idea of your own not already mentioned? If you do, why not add a comment at the bottom of the post?

“If you were leading a social media course what do you believe would be the 3 most important things to cover?”

@guavamarked (Twitter) monitoring, empowering existing users, engaging with new ones.

@sam_deeks (Twitter) 3 tips for Social Media course 1) SM wasn’t created for your benefit 2) Leave your ego out of it 3) Get a (real) life as well

@seasedge (Twitter) Understand your social media goals, tracking / monitoring your current interaction & attracting new customers.

@enterpriseiain (Twitter) depends on the audience.never sell a tragedy to an audience expecting a comedy. A vital point for all courses.

@cyberdoyle (Twitter) before i started I would watch this, its mega and full of wisdom for any social media peeps http://tinyurl.com/kvmods

@24x blogs, twitter, facebook for business…all of course accompanied by a latte 🙂

Sean McManus (LinkedIn)

A lot of businesses fall flat when they go into social networks and just start spouting off about how great they are. It needs to be more about building a relationship with people (two way communication), and messages need to be consistent with the tone of the community, and add value.

So I’d suggest the three priorities are:

– making sure that you add value to the community
– listening to what people say (not just pushing stuff out there)
– respecting that it’s not your community – follow the rules and netiquette.

I guess another part of it is that it’s a long term game – you can’t expect quick returns from social media. It’s about building reputation and relationships, not about making a quick sell.

Steven Stearns (LinkedIn)

1.) Face your market.
2.) Listen to it.
3.) Engage.

Aaron Shaffer (LinkedIn)

Good question. I would start with determining the goal of why a company wants to leverage social media. Is it a feeling that they have to, are they interested in a new venue for customer interaction, or is it just another way to brand or sell themselves. Based upon that goal, I would then begin to look at:

• How you want your community’s followers to interact with you, and for what purpose? As Sean said in the post above me, it really is about listening to your community. Establish a network of trust. I know there are a myriad of good and bad examples of this.
• Determining your long term value proposition. Are you simply a logo in cyberspace, or are you going to provide and disseminate information that would be important to your audience.
• While building credibility for yourself, respect the ethos of the specific community and your followers. At this point, we’ve seen sites come and go. Without that respect, are you going to be able to carry your users to the next platform?

Above all, stress the importance of building the reputation of the brand and providing a pathway for long term interaction and a sustained relationship.

Steve Buser (LinkedIn)

Suppose I am selling coffee. I want to get a dialogue going about coffee, not about my coffee. How to brew the perfect cup. The best coffee houses (let the users tell me where they are and why. THe best blends, The newest trends. Quote famous people on coffee. Great coffee moments in history. Best foods to eat with coffee.

But it is not just you telling them. Let them be the major part of the dialogue. A reward for the “best coffee story.”

Make coffee part of their lives, not just part of their shopping list.

Involve them, celebrate their ideas and input. Then you will be following the old marketing line “Sell the sizzle and not the steak.”

>Peter Graves (LinkedIn)

1. Making your social media efforts more targeted, mostly otherwise you’ll be marketing to friends, family, competitors and spammers.
2. Selecting the right site(s) for your market, personality and time-availability.
3. Working SMM in with your SEO – the SEO is lightly to bring you larger numbers of better targeted visitors, so those that forsake this for pure social media can pay quite a high price in the long term.
4. Doing it efficiently, so it creates maximum impact and involvement while swallowing up as little of your time as possible.
Good grief there’s so much isn’t there – good points from the others on this page too I feel.

Rob Duncan (LinkedIn)

1. Be where your market is (pick the right platforms).
2. Know what you are trying to achieve (stay on message).
3. Think “give” not “get” (invest in your network).

Claire Eason-Bassett (Facebook)

what are the benefits of social media and how can it be used to get them? e.g. writing good twitters. And how to join up between the social media forms and include social media in your overall marketing strategy.

A big thank you to all those who took the time to answer my question. Some really great responses which will give me a lot to consider when preparing the next course or presentation.

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About the Author

I’m fascinated by how a company or organisation can change its fortunes and even undergo a transformation by looking at a challenge in a different way and by behaving in different ways.

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