I started blogging in 2007 and speaking about the benefits of social media in 2008. I'm often asked for how-to help but this is impractical to provide.
The solution? Hands-on bring-your-computer training by experts.
I arranged THE Social Media Workshop for the nonprofit Association of Independent Consultants (AIC). I "volunteered" to be VP Programming from Dec 2010 to June 2011. This role involved auditioning speakers and selecting 9 in total during my term.
If you'd like to organize or attend a practical social media workshop, here are ideas.
The TopicsThe four hour workshop started with an explanation of the why of social media. The challenge was finding a credible, unbiased keynote speaker who doesn't sell social media services. Who better than Sean Stanleigh (LinkedIn profile), the Report on Small Business editor for The Globe & Mail? He actively uses social media and has contact with many entrepreneurs. Sean agreed to participate. He used a Q&A format, which was effective.
Next, the focus was on the how
- hands-on LinkedIn: improving your Profile with Paul Van Wart (LinkedIn profile) of Paul 2 The Max
- hands-on Twitter: applying the basics with Stephanie Goodman (LinkedIn profile) of Venture Accelerators
- creating content: learning how to get going and keep going with Susan Corcoran (LinkedIn profile) of Indigo Oceans (not hands-on)
ShorterIf you don't have time for a workshop, you can get an overview in 45-75 minutes. To avoid bias or pitches, select a speaker
- with consistent persistent generosity and
- who doesn't sell any social media services
Where's Facebook?Facebook was not covered despite the current hype. The value remains unclear to me, especially for small businesses selling services. Even so, I auditioned several presenters and rejected them all.
Depending on your audience and the time available, you might want to include sessions on Facebook and/or newsletters.
BonusAs a supplement to the afternoon workshop, Julia Hidy (LinkedIn profile) spoke after dinner about
- ePress kits
- how to use social media to find and retain the best clients
- THE Social Media workshop: AIC website, LinkedIn event
- The ROI on social media, reputation and a hungry rabbit
- How to hire a social media expert
- LinkedIn's Jonathan Lister discusses social media
- The easiest way to catch up with social media
- Improving Google's Get Your Business Online initiative (GYBO)
- Building trust with social media (video)
PPS I didn't select myself. That's another example of "volunteering".