How and What to Train on Social Media for Networking and Awareness.

If we look at all the campaigns and the conversations around us we can find that it is the social media that is that has proved itself as a useful tool in helping us connect to people and organizations of diverse backgrounds at any moment, who would otherwise be out of our reach , to relay our message.

At any given moment, many online marketers, PR agents of celebrities, activists, social networkers who are looking for jobs and etc. are using the Social media. Just like them, you need to fix your objective, and then take your initiatives, if you want to use this tool for your benefit.

Your focus and efficiency of Social Media activities are the two essential things that means a lot for your social existence and more importantly, for your message to be communicated to the right consumer. Focus, here, refers to how deliberate you are in fixing the target groups of people to reach your objective and prioritizing them. Efficiency refers to how you use the the multiple platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Medium, LinkedIn etc.) available to you to connect with your Social Networking target group, in terms of priorities.

How often do you find (a set of) hash tags like these:

Using hash tags that are :

  • Short
  • Meaningful
  • Emotionally appealing
  • Addresses the audience directly and makes the reader feel a part of the campaign

always help! Probably you have come across these pictures or hashtags:

So if you have come across these hash tags and have realized what can happen if they are used appropriately versus those used inappropriately. Also, think of all the other burning issues we talk about such as Climate Change, Education, Youth Development and Leadership; think of the hash tags that we are using and the ones we can use to promote the words containing our say on these issues. The recent one that I was really amazed about was the #illridewithyou (I’ll Ride With You) campaign to stand up against the Cafe Siege that took place in Sydney, Australia.

I was really impressed by the number of participants who had a Twitter account at my recent workshop on Social Media and Networking for the members of IABC (International Association of Business Communicators) in BRAC university, as I have not found so many young people in Bangladesh using twitter compared to the vast number of youths using facebook. To them facebook is more appealing. It seems to be natural, though I used to wonder a lot of times why it is so. Hence I tried to apply the theory of Multiple Intelligence (a theory invented by the American psychologist, Dr. Howard Gardner which was later embraced by the educators and implemented in many parts of the world) and tried to analyze why it is so popular which I discussed in this post .

I started off with a physical networking simulation assignment by utilizing copies of some art works of my good friend Liza. The pictures were cut into pieces beforehand and the cohorts had to randomly take a piece from me. Then they were asked to form groups based on the number they got on the back of their pieces and then they would try to reproduce the actual picture. It turned out to be really interesting when all was going on well but some groups had some parts missing. They were wondering what happened. I did not tell them that I had the missing pieces. Somebody found out by approaching me and asking me about it. At the end of this they reflected on what went right and what else could be made better while doing this activity. The sense of ‘networking’ and its importance started to flow in their minds as they worked on the team assignment and as they were asking other groups about the missing pieces even under the time constraint.

The participants reorganized the pieces of artworks (copies) to reform the complete pictures.

Making the workshop hands-on was also fruitful for the cohorts. Since it was on Social Media and Networking they were encouraged to ‘be online’ throughout the session. We displayed live feed on twitter (and sometimes on facebook) with the hashtag:#smnBRACU. It was a great idea that the participants could see their twitter post on the screen and was being embraced by the others while occasionally being discussed about by me. I know how good it can feel from my experience during my leadership program of Swedish Institute’s (Young Connectors of the Future) in Sweden during the part that was conducted by Mark Comerford.

Throughout my workshop we discussed about LinkedIn, Email Writing along with the other great social media platforms such as twitter, Google Drive, Hootsuite, bufferapp, and so on! When it came to solving cases on email communication they did it through twitter, after I posted the question/case in the form of a picture in twitter (to keep it within 140 characters!).

Hands-on Learning: The participants used the social media in order to explore more in the process.

I would like to share some of my experiences and learning regarding facilitating a session on “Social Media and Networking” which you can also probably apply if you are conducting one:

  1. Show and clarify the difference between Online and Offline Networking:By doing so they will understand that the Online world is much more dynamic and it gives no time to the networker to spare.
  2. Take their context into account: When you are showing the insight of the different social media platforms make sure that your listeners can relate their areas of usage and their preferences to it. You believe something to be good because you use it for your business meetings would not mean anything to them unless there is some geek in your session who is running a business at a time when he is not supposed to.
  3. Improvise application: Let them use social media hands-on, provided that the resources are available. If resources are not available then do some simulations that can resemble online networking. If you are only telling them about the social media then you are repeating the same things given in the web. In that case teaching them how to use Google is better! Using Social Media Platforms for effective networking takes skills which can be achieved through practice. Let them use the social media to even answer your questions or pose one.
  4. Ensure Usefulness for all users: Your session can have advanced as well as beginner users. So try to have some materials/content ready for them to continue in the journey of learning in your session.
  5. Don’t tell what you don’t do: You are telling them about things which you believe are useful and so doing it is the best way of showing that you believe it. If you talk about a social media that you do not use then you better give them a valid reason.
  6. Utilize what you train instantly: If you teach something and then use it to teach them the next thing then you build credibility on the first things. For example, I did not let them simply go away after I told them and helped them explore twitter, but I also used it to take them through the lessons about email communication by posting the cases in twitter.
  7. Use Facts: Do show facts that the learners would not possibly know. Give them hard facts about the revolution. It is needed to earn their trust about the significance of the things that you are trying to teach.
  8. Follow up through the content you taught: Try to reinforce learning with your learners by communicating with them in the same (or similar) social media. Having the students communicate with you through the same social media platforms as discussed in the class and giving them feedback based on how they are implementing their learning will help them improve their skills.

The bottom line is no matter what, you will have to use it at some point or the other. Otherwise your voice (and so your existence) will be lost among the billions of voices on the web. All the great websites and applications are there for helping you out reach others and the others to reach you. Use it to maximize your impact ! And so help the people around you to help them in its capacity-building to use it efficiently to be on the same page as you are.

Follow me on twitter: @imrannkhurshid

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