“Well I’ve been on three courses already but I still don’t get it”, or words to that effect, is something we hear fairly often from our social media training clients.

Especially when they’ve been to a number of large group sessions, many people struggle to get from what’s commonly provided as standard training, to being able to develop and deliver an effective social campaign.

Here are our Top 5 reasons why this happens.

1: Lack of context

A social media presence never exists in isolation. If you’re learning one or more of the social media platforms, it really helps if you know in advance what you want to achieve from it. This means that you need to have at least a high level understanding of your organisation’s online and offline marketing strategy.

Hopefully, that will then inform your choice of course – you have some idea of what the site you’re being trained on can do, and why that’ll be helpful for you, right? If you arrive on the day not knowing this, and the course itself doesn’t cover it, then it’s difficult for you to make that leap of how you can use what you’re being shown.

2: Outdated content

Social media sites change constantly – there are new functions introduced, or even as happened recently with Facebook, the entire user interface is redesigned.

This is a pain for training providers as it means that course content has to be updated, but a good trainer will ensure that’s been done. It can be really disorientating to get back to your office and find that when you log in to the site you were trained on, everything looks different from the screenshots in your training.

3: The classroom mentality

Going on a training day can provide a seductive opportunity to regress! Our brains become twelve years old again, with the mentality that we just have to be in the room and it’s the trainer’s responsibility to ensure that we learn. A good course will include questions and exercises to help prevent this, but it’s so easy to do. Make sure you participate actively in your learning, and that you’re able to ask as many questions as needed during the session.

4: The training isn’t related to your business

This is probably the real killer for most people. They find themselves in a room with twenty other people, being shown how to set up a Facebook ad campaign or use Hootsuite to schedule Tweets. This may be essential stuff, but if the trainer doesn’t relate it back to how it’ll work for your business (or simply can’t on a practical level, because the types of business in the room are too diverse), you’ll struggle when you’re on your own.
The devil really is in the detail here. Being shown which buttons to press is a bit like teaching an aspiring novelist how to use Microsoft Word – they have the basic tools, but not the strategic skills to make good use of them. Good novelist training will demonstrate how the tools help achieve real-world goals, and social media training is no different.

5: Delay, delay!

It’s true of almost any training that new knowledge will disappear from your brain at a rate of knots if you don’t start building on it right away, and especially so with social media where you may be learning skills which are very different from what you’ve done in the past.

Make sure you have some time set aside within a day or two to put what you’ve learned into use, or when you do get back to it you’ll be confused and it’ll all seem like a lot of hard work. Then your social media campaign slips to the bottom of your “to do” list again, and in a few weeks you’re back at square one.
Post by Kate Rose