Teaching Social Media: 5 Tips to Get Tradesmen Involved

Teaching Social Media: 5 Tips to Get Tradesmen Involved

By Lisa GulasySep 6 /2013

As an agency that offers social media management services, we at Kuno Creative are often approached to teach others about social media. Some are current clients looking to garner a better understanding of the nitty gritty of each social network, while others are professionals eager to expand or improve their online personal brand.

Last month, we were approached by a labor press association seeking social media tips to pass on to tradesmen readers. Seeing as I manage a Facebook page that strives to open conversation between tradesmen, I fit the presenter bill nicely. Here, I share a few tips I offered them to get tradesmen involved in social media. 

Speak in Layman’s Terms

If your audience doesn’t know the language of social media, don’t spew terms like “post reach,” “circles” and “handle” and expect total comprehension. People who may use social media personally often don’t know terms social media marketers deem basic. Think of it this way: Non-medical folks probably don’t know what Ductal Carcinoma in Situ is, but you better believe they know what breast cancer is.

That’s why I always speak in layman’s terms when teaching social media to audiences generally unfamiliar with the process. If I do use social media terminology, I always define each term before proceeding on with the lesson.

Ask How They’re Already Involved

Sure, the stereotype is tradesmen don’t use social media, and if they do, they’re not using it to its full advantages. But that’s not always the case That’s why I kicked this presentation off by asking audience members to volunteer their familiarity with the different platforms. And while most were only using Facebook to communicate with friends and family, some audience members were experimenting with Twitter for business, and one man said he blogs on Tumblr. 

By asking your audience members how they’re already involved with social media, you can tailor your presentation to their comfort level, making the experience more worthwhile for you and for them. I also advise encouraging your audience to ask questions throughout your presentations; this way, you’ll always know you’re on the same page.

Emphasize the Importance of Social Media as a Whole

When you tell a group of tradesmen you’re going to teach them about social media, they often think you’re going to exclusively discuss Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and so on. And while these networks help comprise social media, they are not what social media is.

Social media is a process—it includes everything from curating content and building editorial calendars to finding the right audiences to follow and tweaking updates for best engagement. And while Facebook and the like may be the social networks of choice among most audiences today, there’s no saying they’ll even be around 10 years from now. (Remember Myspace?

That’s why, when teaching social media, it’s vital to illustrate the importance of social media as a whole. Otherwise, your pupils may get the impression that it’s an excellent strategy to set up shop on each new emerging network. Once you get that point across, use your expertise to help determine which of today’s networks are worth their time.

Demonstrate What Not to Do

When I was in school, I found it helpful to see not only good examples of work, but poor ones, too. Something that’s an obvious blunder to some people isn’t so obvious to others, and nobody wants to risk asking a “dumb” question. For tradesmen like plumbers, it’s pretty easy to tell when you’ve made a mistake. Forget to tighten that pipe fitting? Your customer’s bathroom has flooded with water. Social media mistakes, however, are much less apparent.

That’s why I always include examples of what not to do on social media. I collect real life examples us social media marketers cringe over (like Kenneth Cole’s latest) and present them to my pupils, explaining what the blunder was and why it was so bad.

Offer Takeaways

How often do you find yourself taking diligent notes throughout a meeting or training only to discover you missed the key takeaways the organizer or presenter really wanted you to absorb? You’ll remember most of the generalities and a few very specific tidbits, but neither serve you well when it comes to taking action.

That’s why, when teaching social media to tradesmen, always offer key takeaways. Outline at the beginning of your presentation what the takeaways will be, when you reach a takeaway, emphasize that it is, indeed, a takeaway and briefly summarize your takeaways again at the end of the presentation.

I also find it’s helpful to offer physical takeaways. Ask if anyone in the audience would like a copy of your presentation outline or slide deck. You can also consider preparing folders of related information you’ve previously created you think they’ll find helpful. For my labor press association presentation, I handed out folders that contained a few of our social media resources. (Everyone loves freebies, right?)

While these tips were meant for teaching tradesmen social media, almost all can be adapted to different groups. You can apply these tips to your next social media teaching session, no matter the audience.

What social media teaching tips would you add to this list? Give your two cents in the comment section!

Known as Hawkeye for her near superhuman copy editing abilities, Lisa Gulasy applies her unique experiences in agency and journalism to manage strategy and day-to-day engagement of client social media profiles and assist in researching and writing blogs, press releases and advanced content. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Discover How to Get The Results You Want With a Website Redesign