A social media workshop without Wagner.

Introduce a team to the world of social media and you may get the same mixed result as you would sending them to the opera.

There will be those who tried it once before, thought it was over rated and would not  listen again if their life depended on it.

Some will pretend to engage, only to fall asleep at the end of the first act.

For others, parts will resonate and whet an appetite for further exploration.

Then there are those who wholeheartedly appreciate the genre and devour it – they may even demonstrate some technical aptitude.

Over the last 6 months, each employee social media workshop that we have run has been made up of the above melting pot of attendees.  Generally this makes for some really interesting debate, however, in an environment where organisations are working overtime to integrate these channels into their day-to-day business and maximise opportunities, there is little time for such musings.

With this in mind, here are a few activities to consider prior to your workshop in order to get everyone to a workable level of knowledge and to ensure the time spent during your workshop focuses on the strategic objectives of your social media strategy rather than an explanation of Twitter.

1. Establish how much your attendees know about social media and provide some background learning.

There are many  simple introductory videos to get people quickly up to speed on the concepts of social media as well as the tools. Here are a couple of my favorites.


Introduction to Social Media and Social Media and the Workplace (by Common Craft )

Web 2.0….The Machine is Us/ing Us (by Professor Michael Wesch – Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology Kansas State University. After two years studying the implications of writing on a remote indigenous culture in the rain forest of Papua New Guinea, he has turned his attention to the effects of social media and digital technology on global society.)

Need some stats? Socialnomics provide an annual snapshot of the global social media revolution.  Here is the edition for 2011.

While I am yet to see a social media opera, social media the musical is here!


Once again, Common Craft provide some excellent summaries of the most well known social media tools and their uses.

2. Define the key business deliverables you look to support with your social media strategy.

The most successful social media strategy is focused on delivering measurable business outcomes.  Organisations often decide they ‘need’ a social media presence – the executive will ask why and the value it will bring.  Identifying some key deliverables to discuss at the workshop will instill early the focus which your social media strategy will take.

3. Identify how each team or individual will contribute to its success.

Too often those who are not given the task of managing specific channels do not consider that they have a role to deliver the strategy. Social media is all about engaging your stakeholders and this requires compelling content.  Understanding the objectives you are trying to achieve, the stakeholders with whom you will need to engage and the type of content that they will be interested in requires a united effort.  Like email, technical proficiency of social media will be a required skill in the kit bag of all office based employees in the not to distant future.  While it is prudent to initiate an organisation’s presence via a limited number of technical experts, employees should also be encouraged to contribute content and be a part of its development.

This counsel may not get your team to La Scala, but it will allow them to suck the marrow out of any social media workshop that comes their way.

Ellis Jones offer a range of customised employee workshops to equip your team to manage your organisation online. They leave understanding the opportunities, aware of organisational (and personal) risk and focused on the way social media can deliver measurable business outcomes.

image credit : Jason Howie