How to Lead a Hands-On Social Media Training

social media training seminar by Eric Schwartzman

In digital marketing, content marketing, search engine optimization, list building, and email marketing continue to be significant revenue drivers.

So how does social media feed into that, and how are B2B content marketers leveraging social to achieve an ROI?

What’s the role of owned media? If blogs and podcasts are so influential, why do some use them successfully while others fail?

What’s the key ingredient to getting shared media outreach right?

What is it that social media influencers Deirdre Breakenridge, Brian Solis Lee Odden, Richard Bagnall, and Shonali Burke do differently to make these channels work?

The answer is, they’re digitally literate.

They’ve invested to time and energy and learned how to communicate effectively through conversational, inclusive, owned, shared and earned media.  

It takes all three. Leverage exists at the overlaps, where visibility, credibility and influence live. This is digital media strategy.

Feel free to use my media framework, but please credit

They’re learned by doing, and trail blazing a path. 

The war against digital illiteracy will not be won by attending social media conferences. What’s required is hands-on training.

You can learn strategy and big ideas through keynotes and panel sessions, but actual training in a wired classroom with broadband access, step-by-step exercises and expert instruction is required to develop applied knowledge.

Social Marketing for Business

In Social Marketing to the Business Customer, we cover every aspect of what marketers who get social media right do differently.

They listen, create interesting, useful content in a variety of formats and ask meaningful questions.  

They leverage the latest online tools and services to do more with less. They understand that the message, independent of the media, must have merit.

They appreciate the difference between marketing and editorial content.  

But most importantly, they have a high-level of applied social media literacy.

The fact is, most companies think social media marketing is launching a Twitter feed and a Facebook Page and pushing out links.

They lack the skill and stamina to locate buyer-oriented conversations or steer purchasing decisions.  

And they regard social media as mass media, so they broadcast promotional messages and wonder why it’s not working.

How to Teach Applied Skills

There’s a real lack of practical, applied social media training opportunities out there, and not enough employers are investing in developing social media literacy in the workplace.  

I’m not talking about the dozens of social media conferences where speakers cover, at a high-level, case studies and success stories.  

I’m talking about a training environment where you bring your laptop, participate in exercises and gets hands-on training.

Leading a hands on social media training session as a 2-Day pre-conference workshop at the PRSA International Conference.

Thanks to PRSA and my clients, I’ve had the opportunity to lead over 100, two-day social media training courses over the last five years. I’ve trained Fortune 500s, government agencies, the military and nonprofits. 

When I first started, we called it new media training. Then it became new media and social media training. Now, with social becoming a component of destination site, search and database marketing as well, we just call it social media training.

I’ve had a chance to spend a lot of time thinking about how to advance social media literacy rates.  

So if you’re considering conducting a social media training class, or even starting your own social media training business, here are my top tips for what it takes to lead an outstanding web 2.0 training.

1. Show Live Social Networking Demos

Hands on user training in NYC
Doing a live software demo at the Direct Marketing Assoc. in NYC.

Teaching people how to use social media via PowerPoint borders on criminal. Make sure you have high-speed web access and do live demos.  And don’t do canned demos.

Conduct actual keyword research for someone in the course so everyone can see how it’s done.

Before I lead a social media workshop, I look over the list of registered attendees and make sure I’m prepared to focus all my demos around their particularly areas of interest. And I also make sure my case studies are applicable to them.

2. Lead with Step by Step Exercises

Most conferences have woken up to the fact that wireless connectivity is like air conditioning. But in a social media training course, broadband access for everyone is mandatory.  

Live demos may engage your audience, but the knowledge transfer process gets cemented through experience.  

Have your attendees bring their laptops and lead them through a series of exercises.  These are some of my favorites:

3. Teach Basic Keyword Research

Hiring an SEO consultant every time your need keyword research is unrealistic. Show attendees how to discover relevant keyword phrases, Google Trends to get a handle on search volume, Google Keyword Tool to analyze your competitor’s website for keyword recommendations, how to check a site for meta keywords and how to use a density analyzer to check for keywords when no meta keyword data exists. I have a free online SEO course if you want to learn the basics right now.

4. Show How to Do a Competitive Analysis

Once they have an understanding of the keywords that are relevant to their business, show then how to see who else is out there already, competing for the attention of their audience.

Have them search the keywords and analyze the top results in Yahoo! SiteExplorer for inbound links from external domains, and SimilarWeb for unique visits.  

Then have them do the same for their own site.  If their competitors have established an overwhelming lead, ask them to reconsider their keywords. Show them how to add keyword modifiers to compete in the long tail of search.

They may reach fewer prospects, but those who do find them will have a higher probability of conversion.

5. Teach Social Media Monitoring

Once they got a better handle of what they should be listening to, show them how to pull Google News feed into Netvibes or Feedly.  

Then show how to monitor Twitter, forums, Wikipedia, YouTube and Linkedin by keyword via RSS as well.

There’s a chapter that walks you step-by-step through these first three bullets in my book.

6. Teach Social Media Mapping

Once people start to see how difficult it is to drink from a firehouse and retain intelligence, show them how to use a social bookmarking service to build influencer lists.  

Demo Delicious or Diigo for tagging useful content and thought leaders, and show them how they can collaborate with colleagues to divide and conquer broad swaths of information.

By monitoring and mapping, you find those hot pockets of activity I mentioned earlier.  Then, you can strike where the iron is hot.

7. Teach How to Launch a Blog

Instead of just talking about the benefits of blogging, show them how to launch a blog for the purposes of education only.  

It doesn’t need to be a blog they are going to maintain. Use Blogger as a digital sandbox to show people how easy it is publish and mash-up content from other sources on the web.  

Have them all write an innocuous blog post, embed a Creative Commons licensed Flickr photo, blog a YouTube clip, install a Facebook “Like” button, add a Tweet Button, a Linkedin Share Button and install Google Analytics.

8. Teach How to Record a Podcast

Record a short, one-minute interview with a session attendee, edit it in Audacity, ad an intro with royalty free music, compress it to an MP3 and ID3 tag it in iTunes, right in front of everyone.  

Then show them how to get a podcast listed in the iTunes directory.  

Pull a streaming audio widget and show attendees how to embed a podcast episode in a blog.  

The show them how to record and upload audio from a smart phone with Cinch.

9. Teach How to Distribute a Live Stream

Use a consumer video camcorder and an MacBook Pro with firewire ports to live stream professional looking video to Facebook Live.

Demo Restream and Streamyard. Show them how to live stream from Zoom to social media.

Have the attendees embed the stream in their blogs. Then show them how to live stream from a smart phone with Instagram.

10. Teach How to Launch a Facebook Page

Show them how to establish a Company or Brand page on Facebook, install a few apps and show how to check a page’s usage statistics in Insights.  

Head on over to the “Marketing” tab in the Facebook Page admin console and Create an Alias, Add a Like Box to your Blog and Get a Badge to install as well.

11. Teach How to Set Up an Engagement Dashboard

Show them how to use the “Send To” function in their Google Reader to curate content for posting to their blog, their Facebook Page and their Twitter account.  

If there’s time, use TweetDeck or HootSuite, and show everyone how to pull their Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin accounts in so they can spend more time engaging, and less time going from site to site.

12. Show Some B2B Options

If your audience is interested in B2B social media, show them Linkedin and SlideShare as well.  

On Linkedin, demo Groups, posting articles and Linkedin Live.  On SlideShare, show them how to upload a deck and embed it in their blog.

13. How to Format Your Leave Behind

In the old days, people used to print out their PowerPoint decks and hand out hard copies.

But if you’re workshop is all about online tools and services, that’s a whole lot of URLs for people to have to write down and remember.  

What I do is link any JPEG I show in a slide back to the URL where I got it from.  

And I number each slide in the upper right-hand corner.  I upload the deck to SlideShare so everyone has a copy.  

All they have to do is advance to the slide and click on the image to get to the site I’m showing. Here’s how I format my decks for sharing:

14. Demo Useful Social Mobile Apps

Spend time teaching how to use social media apps.

Across every age demographic, there is a substantially higher percentage of multiplatform and mobile-only internet users than the previous year. More than 3/4ths of all digital consumers (age 18+) are now using both desktop and mobile platforms to access the internet, up from 68 percent a year ago.

Notifications screen on the Twitter Mobile app.

Mobile-only internet usage is also becoming more prevalent, driven largely by the 21 percent of Millennials who are no longer using desktop computers to go online.

Meanwhile, the 55-years-and older consumer segment is actually the fastest growing faction of mobile users, increasing its combined multi-platform and mobile-only share of audience from 60 percent to 74 percent in the past year.

15. Ask for Linkedin Recommendations

If you want to go into the social media training business, you need people who have taken your workshops to recommend it to others.

Linkedin Recommendations is a great way to get testimonials, because they have to actually be written by another Linkedin member, and they can be rescinded at any time, so they’re more credible.  

I’ve built up plenty of recommendations for my social media trainings on Linkedin and send people a link if they’re on the fence about enrolling in one of my courses.

You can link directly to your recommendations by adding “/#endorsements” after your Linkedin profile URL. Here are my LinkedIn recommendations.


I thoroughly enjoy leading social media training workshops. Seeing others awaken to the possibilities of social media marketing is incredibly inspirational.  

If you would like to use my training materials to lead your own workshop, go right ahead.

I ask only that you attribute my slides to me, and that you share them as well with whoever you show them to.

One last thing. I compiled this checklist on how best to prepare a venue for a hands-on user training event. Give this to the facilities manager before your event to make sure your AV is handled appropriately.

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