Our latest Twitter chat guest, Helen Reynolds gave away some of her best secrets on planning, running and selling social media training!

Helen runs a creative comms business called Social For The People, to help communicators boost their creativity.

Although she takes the role and work of communications very seriously, she finds it pays to try new and fun ways to build relationships and boost your organisation’s reputation.

Here’s what Helen had to say.

What are the benefits of offering social media and digital marketing workshops?

The main benefit is that people want them! The world is so noisy, and it can be hard to know where to get sound advice, so if you provide that to people, they’re happy customers.

I get a real kick out of seeing people get inspired and using the techniques in their own work. Also, I think once people see you’re teaching, it gives your work more credibility: “you must know what you’re talking about”.

Top tip from our co-founder, Ruth: It’s one of the ways you can set yourself apart as a consultant and get paid higher rates. If you’re interested in speaking at events and putting your own personal brand out there it’s a good way of “getting out there” as well.  

How did you get started with offering your first workshops?

I had an in-house corporate communications job at a council and other organisations asked for help. So I did short talks and workshops for 5-6 people as a favour to other public services.

When I went freelance, the first job I got was a teaching job, and it went from there.

Turns out – I love it! My tip is, accept all offers to talk at events and train people, and work things out as you go. Don’t wait to be a 100% confident and sure, or you’ll never do it.

Top tip from our co-founder, Nicole: I regularly ran workshops during my corporate days and even assessed new potential tutors for the Institute of Directors many moons ago, which was fun! So when I started offering training for Lollipop Social I used all my favourite training techniques.

My favourite tips:

🍭Don’t expect perfection straight away

🍭Use icebreakers

🍭Encourage audience interaction

🍭Allow time for exercises

🍭Don’t make it too dry – we’re talking to adult learners.

🍭How can you boost your confidence? I ran free LinkedIn workshops at a college to fine-tune my delivery skills.

What tips can you share for planning and running social media workshops?

Don’t worry about being nervous. People will like you if you are nervous but helpful and you listen to their questions. They won’t like you if you are confident but defensive and a know-all.

Leave lots of room for introductions, people need to feel that their experience and concerns are fully understood by you and the group. Ask them their fears and their hopes about the training.  

Of course, some kind of chocolate for every student is usually a winner!

Read the room and don’t stick rigidly to slides: if people are getting chatty and excited about something, elaborate on that subject, even if you have to rush through a topic they’re less responsive to.

Be prepared to say ‘I don’t know’. You’re not Google, you can’t know it ALL.  I often say, “That’s a really interesting question – has anyone else got any ideas? “and “I’ll have a look into this after training and let you know if I find any answers”.

Try to find case studies on things that didn’t go exactly to plan or tanked badly. The discussion about what COULD have been done better makes excellent learning.

Top tip from our co-founder, Cathy: Choose your venue carefully, with parking and most of all wifi! Nothing worse than thinking up fabulous interactive content for your workshop guests and then finding the wifi is rubbish.

What factors do you consider when setting a price for a workshop?

I’m loud and proud about my prices which are on my website.

One of the main factors I consider is my years of experience and expertise – I have loads because I’m old!

I also factor in the value of the training to the group – how much will this increase the value of their work?

Top tip from our co-founder, Clare: You need to think about your time and expenses (room hire, travel, printed material etc.) but also what your target customer can afford to pay and how many people might be attending. Don’t go too low, however, or you will cheapen the value of the workshop.

What are your top tips for promoting social media training?

Don’t try to sell your courses to everyone. I purely marketed to comms pros in public services for 4 years, and only now am I broadening my market to other sectors.

It’s easier to be noticed by a specific sector, small businesses in your area, or some other segment

It’s a long game. You can’t just expect people to want to come when they don’t know you yet. Don’t think about selling courses, think about becoming liked, known and trusted by people who might book you in the future.

Don’t say you’re an expert, SHOW your passion for the subject area on social media with opinions and tips on how others are marketing. The more you give, the more opportunities you get.

Speak at as many events as possible so people have a sense of what it’ll be like to spend time training with you.

Also, consider a lead magnet. I have a free 40 minute course on my website that I follow up with emails to remind people of my training offers.

Top tip from our co-founder, Ruth: Start with a strategy, where are your customers? What channels should you use? How do you build your leads? Speaking events.Taster sessions etc. If training is something you offer on an ongoing basis then it needs to be part of your overall marketing strategy.

Top tip from our co-founder, Nicole: Host Live Q&As and use video, so people can get to know the person who would train them  

Why do some people struggle with securing sales for their training

It’s hard. We’re up against big, established training bodies. But we have the opportunity to add a real personality to our training, and it’s all about building trust with your audience.

I think people go into ‘sell sell sell’ mode. Just broadcasting your stuff won’t work on its own, don’t forget to join other people’s conversations. Turn up, and become a trusted advisor.

Imposter syndrome is also a big part of people’s struggles. You’re simply helping people by sharing what you know, so don’t get hung up on looking like you’re the best ever. Don’t aim to be perfect, aim to learn and improve each time you do it.

Top tip from our co-founder, Gemma: They either don’t promote it enough, they’ve not understood their audience or their messaging is unclear.  Otherwise their pricing may not be right, you can be too cheap as well as over priced.

What’s next?

This was such a popular Twitter chat topic that we’re now planning a free workshop in the spring to help you create your own social media workshops.

We’ll announce more details in the Go With The Pro Facebook group  and we hope to see you there!