We train a lot of marketing departments in social media and internet marketing, and over the years there is a lot that I’ve learned about how to create a successful training program. It is important to invest time upfront to create a training program that will really get results – you are investing a lot of time and money in the training.
Training your marketing department in internet marketing and social media is important as marketing dollars shift towards digital. Even if your marketing team won’t be executing the strategy themselves, it is still vital that they really understand how social media and internet marketing work.
The biggest cost isn’t what you pay for the training it is the time of your employees. To take your department out of their regular work for a half day, full day or multiple days is a big investment. You want to make sure that they will get the most out of it.
If you can’t provide your training provider (internal or external) the right information you might not get the best results.
Here are some tips for success that we’ve developed to make sure that you get the most out of your training.
1) Know your goals and objectives
A solid understanding of your goals is important. If you can’t articulate further than “understand social media” think about specifically what you want your staff to be able to do after the training program. Focus on the desired outcomes and learning objectives.
2) Be specific about hands-on vs. theoretical understanding
Do you need a hands-on understanding or a theoretical one? Depending on how involved your organization will be in the actual execution you may need a different depth of training. Hands-on training typically requires a longer time frame than theoretical training.
3) Decide if the training should be strategic or tactical
Again, know your goals and objectives. Are you looking for a tactical or strategic level of training? Think about the real priorities for your training and keep in mind your budget and time constraints.
4) Survey your organization to find out their current knowledge levels
Spend some time upfront to understand the current knowledge level of your organization. This will help create a more targeted training plan.
5) Be realistic about what can be achieved in the time allocated
Many organizations that I work with want to cover all social media tools in a single day of training. While this is possible, it means that the depth of coverage will be pretty high. Consider what your real priorities are and be realistic about what can be achieved in the time allocated. The #1 piece of feedback I get after my 3-day social media certification program is that people wish that there was more time!
6) Be sure your training team understands training
Make sure that your team knows about training. There are lots of talented speakers who don’t understand the difference between speaking and training. The goal of our training programs is to meet specific learning objectives and deliverables. It is based on providing learning models and approaches vs. a theoretical discussion.
7) Create a follow-up training plan
Usually a one-time shot at training isn’t the most effective plan. Create a follow-on training program to continue to keep you organization excited and educated. The follow-on training can take the form of webinars or online learning.