Guide to dealing with the media and social media. How our off-the-shelf courses can get your company started with the Learning Line today
Regular readers will be familiar with Coracle’s thoughts on the importance of a blend between structured and unstructured learning. In this article we want to extend that concept by highlighting how our off-the-shelf courses can help your company launch a successful and affordable learning portal.
When it comes to e-learning, programmes deserve an approach tailored to meet the specific needs of the learner and tutor or mentor; the community it is aiming to serve. For some organisations, the objective is broad education and awareness raising. Others need formal accredited e-learning programmes. But this doesn't mean having to jump in with both feet in an all-or-nothing, expensive way.
Our work with clients often starts with a brainstorm to generate ideas. With others, we are asked to respond to a specific brief. Either way, we dig deep to understand, and sometimes challenge, your short-term needs and long-term vision. With this insight, we can create a learning environment that is fit for purpose for the immediate use, but is also flexible enough to evolve in future without great expense.
One of the key ways we can achieve this ‘rapid start, flexible growth’ is by offering off-the-shelf courses to get projects kick-started. We have courses available for specific industries, such as our maritime courses covering topics ranging from chartering, sale and purchase, law, insurance, rules of the road, bills of lading and maritime geography and then courses which are ideal for any business, such as tools to assist with management effectiveness and the art of delegation, dealing with the media, understanding social media etc. Evidence shows that these off-the-shelf courses provide a great way to test the learning environment on your staff without the cost and potentially long lead time of creating new content from fresh.
If we take our media and social media courses as an example then you will find hints and tips to help get your message out there. A well placed article can have more impact than an advertisement as it will be authoritative and free: getting it right is therefore worth spending time and effort on, and understanding how the media works will help you on that quest.
We look at what news is, what makes a compelling press release and understanding why your press release went unnoticed, why pictures are important, newspaper, TV, radio and webcast interviews and how to prepare for each.
The course comes packed with advice from senior journalists, for example Richard Westcott (BBC Transport Correspondent) and Katie Breathwick (former Global Radio Breakfast Editor for Classic FM News Desk) and we offer this as part of a package to get you going without committing to the expense of creating bespoke content.
The social media part of the course recognises the impact online communication has on all industries. It is part of the DNA of the next generation so companies that don’t embrace it risk looking out of touch to tomorrow’s employees, partners and customers. We explore ideas to help you create a successful social networking campaign and outline the importance of needing clear objectives from the start. The social agenda is pushing all of us, so if your company is sitting on the fence, now is the time to get started.
As part of the scene setting to understand the role of social media, the course gives a clear timeline of the history and evolution of the internet and highlights how the rate at which new technologies are able to reach amazing numbers of people is speeding up.
We look at strategies to do with measurement, engagement, reputation management, resourcing, moderation, staying safe online and the fundamental question of why social networks work anyway. Naturally, we consider how learning online can be social by acknowledging that learning should be a social thing because people learn from people and using technology means that learning can be social on a truly massive scale.
One feature of the course that has proved particularly popular is our guide to parents of teenagers. Although the guide is intended for people in business, we are only too aware that in this ever changing landscape parents often feel poorly equipped to discuss the sites that their children are frequenting. If you are the parent of a teenager, this section gives information on some sites that you should probably be aware of, and why.
If you're still not convinced then allow us one more attempt at persuading you that this is a course you should get your staff to take. In the days before blogging and social media the only real opportunity to reach large diverse audiences was by traditional advertising. It was companies doing the talking. Things have changed and the reversal of roles can be seen by consumers paying to promote their comments, which may be negative about your business. For example, British Airways was hit by a disgruntled customer paying for a promotional tweet that read “Don't fly @BritishAirways. Their customer service is horrendous", in response to their handling of his lost luggage. The customer was able to target specific markets with his comment and achieved his goal of cajoling BA to giving a response. The response took many hours however because the company wasn’t monitoring twitter overnight. In this non-stop global environment, is your company considering how to deal with this potentially damaging reverse messaging? Read more on the BA story here.
Before heading off to rant online yourself, are you confident about your knowledge of the law when it comes to social media? Interacting with a global audience on social media can feel like standing in the middle of a field and shouting. You have to work hard to get anyone to stop and listen to you and then, as that audience grows, it can still feel like you’re operating in isolation, in a bubble of safety. Your friends know where you are, but that’s it. So you feel safe. Reading other people’s messages keeps you in touch with the issues of the day and you may be confident that no-one other than your closest group of friends really cares if you have you something to say. So when you or a member of your staff chips in online with a somewhat cutting or derogatory comment about someone, they may feel safe in the knowledge that no-one outside of their close group will even be aware. That's a mistake. Care needs to be exercised because laws still apply and social media monitoring tools mean inaccurate or illegal comments can be found very fast. This course takes a look at the law and gives examples of its application.
We know that some workplaces ban the use of social media at work. Generally these are workplaces run by managers who have lots of other outdated thoughts and beliefs as well... Banning access is counterproductive as employees will simply use their smartphones anyway! A study at Warwick University reported that using social media allowed people to accomplish a lot more as people who manage their online presence successfully and control their responses online were also better at organising workflow and collaborating on projects. Once the thinking moves from ‘how do we stop this’ to ‘how do we use this to our advantage’ then a constructive approach can be taken. Remember, there were organisations who resisted the introduction of the phone, the fax, email...
Lastly, the course includes a glossary of commonly used terms and abbreviations to help you understand why your colleague is ROFL when you’re AFK because you asked for help to Like a Follower.
We’re ready to help you decode this, and more. SWIM? BBFN.