Shouldn’t Social Media Training Be Included With Web Design Services?

Image Credit: OxfordTechnical

The rather provocative title comes from recent experience on an interesting project with a brilliant new client.

Contact Theatre, Manchester’s home for explosive new theatre run a biennial international theatre exchange programme called Contacting the World.

Created as part of the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, Contacting the World has grown to become a widely respected groundbreaking programme of theatrical work created by young people aged 15 – 25 from all over the world.

From the Contacting the World website:

Contacting the World is a programme of exchange involving 150 young theatre makers from 12 different companies across the world, who are randomly twinned to work creatively and collaboratively over a six month period, culminating in a vibrant UK based performance festival.

This year the festival takes places in Manchester in July.

Real Fresh TV managed the digital strategy for Contacting the World 2010, developing the programme’s website and social media strategy.

We also included a series of social media training sessions for the entire project team as part of the budget.  We’re still providing social media support, providing a quick port of call for queries ranging from publishing content to the website and integrating such activity with Contacting the World’s online community and social media accounts on Twitter, Flickr etc.

Social Media Support Increasingly Critical For Digital Projects

I suspect such social media support is becoming critical for digital projects.

Judging by the questions I’ve received at recent Social Media Surgery events and at Manchester City Council’s Connecting 2.0 Communities event at the MadLab earlier this month, the ubiquity of social media does not mean that everyone knows how to use it.

In fact, it appears that there is increasing demand for training on how to use social media in a business context.

People know what Facebook, Twitter and Flickr are but how to use either strategically to communicate about a business on a regular basis?  Not many can answer that.

This raises the question.

Who is responsible for budgeting for social media training within an organisation?

Is it the company ordering a new website for a project?  Or does the onus lie on the website developer?

I would argue that the client should be forward thinking enough to recognise the need for regular engagement with website visitors using social media and should request some support with this.

From my experiences so far, many clients do.

Still, I shudder to think that there are web design firms out there delivering sites running on social media platforms like WordPress blogs without providing their clients with some strategic advice on how to use them to boost organic Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

I recognise that training is a wholly different service to add web design and development and I’m not for one second suggesting that everyone should do this unless the proper investment in time and other resources has been made.

(User) Training is a completely different business to website design and requires a completely different approach.

Help Wanted With Social Media Training?

For those website developers and organisations that need a helping hand, that’s where Real Fresh TV comes in!

We’ve been delivering continuing professional development training courses on social media marketing to media and marketing professionals for nearly two years.

Our courses include the Social Media Starter Course, the UK’s longest running ‘social media for beginners’ course, it’s more hands-on follow up, the Learning Social Media by Doing Course and the Introduction to Social Media For Media Professionals course.

We also deliver in-house training for those companies that have a staff development budget.

If you’d like to benefit from our experience in helping organisations put their best foot forward while using social media, here’s our training calendar.  You can also meet us at a free social media surgery event in Manchester.

As it happens, Contacting the World 2010 officially launches this evening at Contact Theatre and I can’t wait to see what the project team has planned!

It’s been great to see the Contacting the World community embrace the 2010 programme; the online community has grown to 213 members in less than 10 weeks!

I’m certain Contacting the World 2010 is going to break new ground as it unfolds.

What do you think?  Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Related posts:

  1. Get the Influence at UK’s first Social Media Manager training programme
  2. Real Fresh TV Helps Contact Theatre to UK Social Media ‘First’
  3. Social Media meets Youth Theatre at Contact Manchester’s Contacting the World 2010
  4. Practical Marketing Training: The Learning Social Media By Doing Course

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