Are you planning, or thinking about social media training for a group?
Whether you plan to provide social media training for your staff, colleagues or your clients, you’ll want the experience to be as valuable as possible. So I want to share what I’ve learned about training events, as it might be helpful.
Over the past 9 years, I’ve provided many bespoke social media training sessions, workshops and days both for and on behalf of clients. During that time, I’ve picked up a huge amount of insight into what makes a great training experience – without even noticing it!
It was only today, on a long call with a client for whom I’m planning a big social media training project, that I realised just how much advice I was able to share.
So, here are 6 questions to ask, to help you create a valuable and memorable event.
1. What do you want to achieve from the training?
Obviously, providing social media training for your staff will be a very different proposition from providing social media training for your own customers. (Social media training is often provided for customers of bigger B2B companies as an added-value incentive to help maintain good relationships. )
And you’ll want to achieve very different outcomes from those two scenarios.
But the basic thinking is the same.
What do you want to achieve?
And related to that – how will you monitor whether you have achieved it or not?
Getting clear on this helps to set a baseline against which other decisions can be made.
For example – if you’re training staff, you might want the outcome that they are proficient in using Instagram or Facebook ads. Achievement of this goal could be assessed by monitoring specific metrics, such as reach of Instagram posts, or website clicks driven by ads, or it could be measured simply by surveying attendees after the event.
If you’re providing social media training for your own clients, the focus would be slightly different as you’d want to provide an experience that’s so good that it helps to foster and maintain business relationships and loyalty.`
Having clarity on what you want to achieve will help you to choose the right social media trainer.
2. How will you build anticipation for the training and help the delegates feel involved before the training event?
Involving delegates before the social media training takes place often results in them participating more than they might have done otherwise on the day itself.
One of the best ways to get attendees involved is to ask them what areas they’d like the training to focus on – either by survey or face-to-face. Your trainer should be able to help you create a short survey, the insights from which can be used to ensure that your event is valuable to everyone.
Your attendees are far more likely to be open to change and to actually implement new ways of doing things if they’ve felt involved in shaping the training before it happens.
3. How will your trainer deal with different levels of experience in the group?
In my experience, it’s rare to run social media training and find that everyone in the group has very similar experience, skills and confidence.
So you need to know that your trainer has incorporated this into their planning. And the first step is, of course, to have an idea of where everyone’s at before the training content is finalised.
When I’m creating training for a group, especially when the training is for customers of my client, then I’ll help the client design a survey to go out before the training. The questions in the survey will not only cover what people want from the training, but will also ask about the delegate’s current experience level. I’m then able to plan effectively around the different experience levels in the room.
When delivering social media training, there are lots of different ways of accommodating different experience levels, including:
a. Subdividing the group into smaller groups, based on experience – and set the different tasks to do
b. Bringing a new subject in to the training that no-one will have seen before – to unify everyone
c. Creating lots of discussion sessions as everyone can join in and some of the best learning will come from listening to other people’s answers and the debate that follows.
4. How will your trainer make sure that the session is memorable and fun?
There’s nothing worse than sitting through a ‘death by Powerpoint’ training session – I’m sure we’ve all been there. How much information actually gets retained from sessions like that? Very little, I’d suggest!
It’s important to plan in activities that will break up the delivery of information. These can be as simple as a discussion session – either as a whole group, or smaller sub-groups, or can be more detailed tasks.
You might also want to think about incorporating not only coffee breaks but extra, mini-breaks into the workshop. One client I worked with to deliver training at their biannual Seminar events actually made breaks every hour throughout the day, put some loud dance music on, and got all the delegates up and dancing for 3 minutes!
That certainly kept the energy levels high and made it an event to remember!
5. How can you make sure that your attendees feel confident in applying their new knowledge?
Involving your delegates before the training starts is a great way to help them feel confident about their learning, as they’ll have felt listened to from the beginning.
It’s also a good idea for your trainer to check in with people throughout the session to make sure that they are all up to speed.
People generally learn best by doing. So one of the best ways to make sure your attendees leave feeling confident about applying their knowledge is plan a training session that includes small tasks , or ‘doing sessions’ where they get to practise their new skills. These can be short 5 minute tasks for individuals, or more involved tasks for groups to work on, or both. Either way, this will really help new knowledge to sink in – and will bring out questions that might not otherwise have surfaced!
6. How can you make sure that the new knowledge is actually implemented after the event?
It’s all too easy to come back from training, stick your notes in a drawer, and, even with the best intentions, get back to doing what you were doing without much difference.
That’s not the outcome you’re after, especially when training staff – and it won’t leave clients feeling that the training was especially valuable either.
Here are x ways to encourage post-training implementation:
- Encourage everyone to create a plan for what they’re going to put into action as a part of the session
- Provide supportive reference materials to help with questions that are likely to come up
- Create accountability groups, or buddies and encourage attendees to check in regularly
- Encourage (or plan in) your delegates to cascade their learning to other colleagues and then drawing up a plan of action
- Set up checkpoints to monitor progress against the goals set at the outset
- Provide a resource to allow delegates to get their questions answered after the training (this could be, for example, a Facebook group, a dedicated email address, a weekly video call.)
- Provide follow-up training to support what has been learnt and provide extra steps, or depth – created in response to feedback from the training day. This could be in the form of a live video call, a recorded video training, or a webinar, for example.
Oh and my last tip – food!!!
I’m only mentioning this as I’ve been to a couple of conferences where lunch was provided but no mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacks and a learning army really does march on it’s stomach!
In an ideal world, I’d supply lots of coffee, but also fruit juice, teas and water!
Some people love cakes and carbs, others find they go to sleep, so providing lighter alternatives is always appreciated!
Sweets (and/or fruit) on tables always seems to work too!
I really hope that these tips are helpful and that they give you some pointers to providing a truly memorable and valuable social media training event.
I’d love to know what your tips are – so please add them in the comments ! Also please feel free to ask any questions.
And if you’re thinking about putting on a training event for staff or clients and you want a social media or online marketing trainer – then I’d love to hear from you. If I’m not the right person for you then I know some other fantastic trainers I’d be happy to recommend.
c. Encourage your attendees to feel confident in applying their new knowledge?
d. Ensure that key messages are taken on board, and actually implemented?
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask here – or send me an email! .
Oh and if you’re planning any social media training for a group then I’d be delighted to chat to see if we’d work well together.