Social media - when done right can be your gateway to reaching thousands of people in one tweeting swoop. The opportunities are endless, from brand engagement to understanding your audience, and ultimately building those valuable customer relationships. In terms of L&D, social media can not only help you engage with learners, but to deliver learning and foster communities of practice.
L&D, meet social media
Wondering what social media has to do with learning and development? Current day learners are often likened to ‘consumers’ - they seek out the best content, when they need it, on whatever device they’re on, in any format they want, wherever they are. If you want to tap into their marketplace, then you need to be embracing multi-channel learning strategies, since much of what they find will be on YouTube, forums, LinkedIn, blogs and so on.
In our post on creating campaign-based learning, we talk about two sides to campaigns for learning.
The first side is to drive traffic to your learning content, and it’s also important to keep those visitors coming back for more. Social media is a great tool for getting learners to connect and re-connect with your learning content. Use it right and you’ll not only keep your audience, but they’ll help you grow it as they also use social media to share and add to the content.
The second side to campaigns for learning is to deliver and create learning experiences in their own right by creating short, shareable components that are delivered over a series of months. Social media can, of course, also deliver learning in its own right – and it's where a lot of informal learning takes place between people. But you can also use it to create formal social learning experiences such as creating Twitter polls, where audiences vote on a given issue, and learn from others’ views; creating online debates; or delivering fantastic videos to Vimeo or other in-house site. Use social media as a delivery platform.
If you’re going to bring social media into your L&D mix, make sure you show the trends to your audience on the main page(s) for your learning content. In other words, using a tool like Totara Social, you can ‘advertise’ what content is most popular and liked.
As the marketing co-coordinator and a regular user of social media I tend to spend a lot of time researching and posting on various social media channels. Below are five tips I’ve put together that can help with the difficult job of getting social media right for you and your learning strategy.
5 tips to supersize your social media campaign
Consistency is key
Let’s say you wanted to open a chain of shops, you would make sure your messaging was the same across all locations, right? So why should it be any different when it comes to social media? Think of your different social channels as those shops, keep your messaging consistent. Yes, you might need to change the terminology and style of writing depending on the channel, but underpinning all of those channels should be a clear message about who and what you are about. Create a brand, and stick to it.
Don't be a copy and paster!
This tip made the list because it’s probably one of my main pet hates! Just because Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram (to name a few) fit the category of social media, it doesn’t mean you should copy and paste your message across every social channel you have. For example, if you’ve posted a tweet but want to put it on LinkedIn as well, think about removing the hashtags or possibly making the post a bit longer to suit readers of that channel. Your message doesn’t have to be completely different but subtle changes to the language style, for example, make it just a little bit more personal to the reader.
Know where your audience are
In a previous marketing professional post, we mentioned reaching influential people. That’s exactly what you want to try and achieve with your social media outreach. Don’t just sign up to a bunch of social channels. First research where your desired customers or learners are actually hanging out. Different social channels attract different demographics of people, so once you know where your audience are gathering, you can start to join their groups and discussions.
Social media management tools are your friend
Hearing ‘social media is not always a nine-to-five job’ is probably a sentence that us B2B social media users might not be jumping for joy about. But don’t stress, scheduling tools and social media planners are very handy for the busy worker. Handy tools such as Followerwonk allow you to see how often your followers are posting. From this you can get a better understanding of how often your audience is active on social media. At Kineo we aim for an average between 5-10 tweets a day, and that’s just Twitter. Once you add the other channels into the mix you suddenly realise if you are not strategic about your social media planning, it can become a full time job. Management tools such as buffer allow you to schedule posts in advance. That way you don’t have to login and post them all individually.
Become a pro with shareable content
One of my mantras when it comes to social media would be: don’t jump on every new social media trend. Building a social media profile on just one channel takes time; content needs to be useful and current and that takes maintenance, which is where my final point comes in. Start with one or two channels and really get to grips with them. Consider what’s shareable about your post – because engagement with your content is what it’s all about. Consider using various methods of content sharing. Everyone loves a visual that’s easily sharable, so play around with videos and imagery. For written work, put share links in the footer - this makes it easier for your readers to get involved with the conversation. For more tips on calls to action, take a look at our blog post on campaigns. Customer engagement is the aim, so if you have too many channels and not enough sharable content, engagement is just not going to happen.
Here’s something that you don’t get to say very much: there’s nothing wrong with being a lurker. Watch how others in your networks are using social media. To hone what you do, or help you build confidence to post that first Tweet. Give it a go today - I look forward to crossing paths in the virtual social spaces out there.
More in this series
- Making data work for you: 5 tips from a marketing professional
- Curating in a content jungle: 5 tips from a marketing professional
- Personal branding: it’s all about you! 5 tips from a marketing professional
- Campaigning for better learning: 5 tips from a marketing professional
- Creating personas that work: 5 tips from a marketing professional