How To Write Training That Works: Social Media training material

How to write training that worksWriting training material is a specialized job. But often, in a small business, nonprofit organization, charity or similar circumstances, there isn’t the budget to bring in a specialized supplier. Here’s the HTWB solution, with Jackson Rawlings…

To see all articles in the How To Write Training That Works  series, check out the category “Training That Works” in the side bar to the right —>>>

More and more people are recognizing how important Social Media is from a business perspective. These days everyone from Charlie’s Local Craft shop to Coca Cola have a presence on at least some of the major platforms.

The thing is, as it’s a relatively new form of media, best practices and strategies are only just being developed. This is where decent training comes in. Whether it’s helping to sculpt a Social campaign for a marketing department or teaching the CEO of a company how to Tweet, effective training in this niche is becoming essential.

Creating top-notch Social Media training material isn’t easy. Luckily, we’ve got a few tips to get you plenty of lolz and likes from your learners.

Keep up to date

I cannot overstate how important it is to have your finger on the pulse in this industry. Social Media is constantly shifting and developing: what’s hot one day may not be the next.

Read industry blogs (like this one for a start!) and keep an eye out for burgeoning trends and new ‘cool’ startups.

Bear in mind that sites like Pinterest and Instagram have only been around for a couple of years and yet are now two of the biggest networks out there!

Spotting what’s up-and-coming or what will be the ‘next big thing’ takes skill, patience and practice but it’ll pay off when it comes to writing your material. If you can point your delegates towards the latest ‘winners’ then it shows that you know what you’re talking about, which helps to build trust: something that is integral to a good trainer/learner relationship.

Know your audience

HTWB SocMed iconsAs mentioned last week, great training material requires an understanding of the goals of your delegates. Part of this is gauging the level of understanding that they already possess.

Writing material for a twenty-something Social Media Marketing Manager who wants to learn how to make the most of, let’s say Google+, will necessitate a very different type of material to that for a fifty-plus small business-owner who has just heard about the benefits of having a Facebook business page and wants to learn more about it.

Don’t patronise either sort of delegate by going too fast or too slow: be aware of their level and tailor your content accordingly.

Simplify the jargon

This is as important for the Social whizz-kids as it is for the small business owners. Too many unfamiliar or technical terms can be a real turn-off for anyone.

Give simple but comprehensive explanations of any ‘buzzwords’ that may be confusing to the learner. Analogies are a great way to do this: hashtags could be like the colored tags in a ring-bound folder (a way to group topics) for example.

And again, don’t confuse simplifying with patronizing. They’re very different approaches!

Tell stories: good and bad

Humans have used stories for millennia as a means to understand and appreciate the world around them.

Now, just because the technology is new doesn’t mean every technique used in your training material need be. Tell stories as a way to explain more complicated aspects of the material and to give good and bad examples of Social Media use.

Tales from personal experience are often the most engaging but ‘moral fables’ that use examples of well-known success stories (or train wrecks!) can be just as effective.

Think of the fairytales you were told as child. The concepts outlined within them are often lofty and complex but the narrative helps simplify the lesson.

So go on, create fairytales with your training material!

Factor in ‘hands-on’ time

Getting to grips with Social Media is one of those activities that is best learnt by doing.

Make time for the delegate to do plenty of experimenting and ‘playing about’ on the actual sites themselves. The more they actually use the techniques and tips you suggest, the more likely they are to stick.

Setting up ‘dummy’ profiles is therefore a must and requires consideration at the time of creating the learning program. Most importantly though, don’t pack the material so tight with information that there’s no time to try it all out.

Hopefully these tips will give you some insight into what’s involved in writing Social Media training material. If you have any other ideas about how to create engaging sessions, I’d love to hear them in the comments section.

Next time, we’ll be looking at another niche and giving some tips specific to writing for that subject matter.

Don’t forget – to see all articles in the How To Write Training That Works  series, check out the category “Training That Works” in the side bar to the right —>>>

How to write training that works

Jackson Rawlings

Thanks for reading!


Jackson Rawlings
Digital Marketer
Beanbag Digital

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