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Why is good social media training so hard to find?


Go ahead. Google the phrase “Social media training Minneapolis.”

What comes up?

A couple academic institutions attempting to pull it off.

A handful of agencies.

And an Eventbrite list.

In a nutshell, that describes my experience with social media training programs (or a lack thereof) in the Twin Cities.

Where are they? Why isn’t anyone doing this? Especially when there is a clear gap in the market?

Because, let’s be honest, there is a gap. When it comes to social media education, I see a clear gap in the following areas:

  • Strategy–despite the fact that almost everyone that works in the social media realm lists this competency on their resume.
  • Content development–see above.
  • Social media advertising–potentially the biggest need of them all right now. A fairly complicated process and set of tools with little to no support (outside of the platforms themselves).
  • Social analytics–another huge hole, especially when you have PR people filling it who, to a large extent, have been trained more to use the other side of their brain.
  • Social video–in other words, how to I plan, capture and edit video on and from my phone. Would probably include training on some kind of video editing program as well (i.e. GarageBand).
  • Podcasting–growing need here. Again, seems like an area and skill that VERY few people have, but I would think many would be interested in acquiring.

I know the professional organizations touch on these topics with their programming from time to time, and I think that’s great (in fact, there’s a couple really great ones coming up this summer/fall–just can’t talk about them yet!). But, I’m talking and thinking about something much deeper than a one-time event. I’m talking about real training programs designed to get very much in the weeds on the topics above. You can’t do that in an hour-long session, folks.

I’m thinking about something like Brainco. You’ve heard of Brainco, right? It’s a shorter, more condensed training program for creatives. It includes classes on copywriting, computer graphics and WordPress development. The idea seems to be to give students a well-rounded education in the creative field and prepare you for a job in advertising, design or brand work.

Exactly what we need for social media and/or digital.

So, maybe we should do it. Maybe we could do this together. Maybe I’m talking myself into this right now!

What would we need? In order:

  • A venue. Ideally somewhere downtown, in North Loop or South Minneapolis. Somewhere with small classrooms, but also a couple larger rooms or auditoriums to hold larger sessions/presentations.
  • Professors. Might be tougher than you think. For example, social advertising. I’m not sure I know a ton of people with deep experience in this area. But, collectively, we could identify the right people. We have such a vibrant digital community here in Minneapolis–I know those professors are out there somewhere!
  • Curriculum. Someone, or a team of someone’s, would need to drive our topics and subject matter. I think we could benefit by getting input from key digital leaders across our community. I think we could benefit by chatting with real professors at universities around town who are touching on this kind of stuff in the classroom (I’m looking at you, Betsy Andersen).
  • Money. We’d need funding to get it up and running. Maybe we employ a BrandLab model, which seems to be based on a combo-platter of corporate and individual donors. I mean, developing social/digital talent would definitely benefit corporations and agencies around town–why wouldn’t they support something like this?

I don’t know–what do you think? Could we do this? I’m thinking it might be worth a shot. The need is clearly there. The work would benefit us all.

I like where this could be going. Who’s with me? If you’re serious, send me a note at arik@arikhanson.com. I’m interested in exploring options.



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