There are many training options available to individuals and businesses looking to increase their social media capabilities. Many marketers and business owners find that learning from a trainer in real life is much more effective than online learning. They can engage and ask questions relating to their specific situation and the material they learn is bang up to date. However, deciding whether it’s worth investing in a private session for you and your business versus attending an open seminar isn’t as easy. We’re going to help you out.
Group seminars vs private bespoke social media training
Okay, so what exactly are we talking about? On one hand, we have the open seminar or workshop-type option. These are scheduled events that delegates from all backgrounds and businesses can book on to. The course outline is fixed and the content is advertised beforehand so delegates know what to expect; what they need to know beforehand and what they’ll learn.
Seminars are typically run regularly by social media trainers and marketing agencies. You’ll find free and paid-for courses and ones that last from as little as a couple of hours up to a two or three-day course.
On the other hand, we have private, individualised sessions. These are sessions that have attendees from a single business or organisation so all the content is based around their needs, specifically. Of course, this is a more premium option. These sessions are booked in advance with a specialist trainer who knows how social media is going to work best for you and your business.
Which training option is best for you?
The main question to ask is: “is it worth paying the premium to have a personalised training session?” and this majorly depends on your business’s circumstances.
But firstly: if you have the budget, having private social media training will always be the best option. Think about it like the difference between an hour’s gym class versus an hour’s one-to-one personal training. They’re both valuable but you’re going to benefit from tailored help and advice from the private session.
But what about if you think you might be better off with an open seminar and would rather spend a little less cash? Here are the questions to ask yourself:
Are you are attending by yourself or are others from your team joining you?
The first thing to consider is the number of attendees from your business. If there are four or five of you looking to attend a course, the cost of those individual tickets adds up. For most private training providers, they won’t charge per person so there’s loads more value if more of you attend.
How advanced is your understanding already?
The more advanced you are, the more benefit you’ll get from a tailored session. Most group seminars err on the side of simplicity and the group progresses at the rate of the least proficient attendee.
When looking at more advanced courses, it’s very difficult to know whether you’re an ‘intermediate’ or ‘advanced’ learner in that specific area of social media.
How typical are your business’s social media needs?
Group seminars are very general – even if they’re looking at a specific thread of social media such as Facebook advertising, for example. If your business is a little different to the typical e-commerce business or local service provider, you may find a lot of the learning is slightly wide of the mark.
How do you prefer to learn?
If you’re happy sitting back and absorbing information in a kind of classroom environment then a seminar could be the right option. If you prefer a more immersive and interactive experience, having a trainer to yourself and your team will be more suitable. We find that there’s more opportunity to ask questions, particularly those particular to your business, when in a private session.
How much time can you commit?
The risk with open group sessions is that you may need to attend several before you actually have all the pieces of your social media puzzle. The style and content of seminars or open workshops varies drastically so you’re unlikely to get everything you need on the first attempt. If you don’t mind dropping into several courses over a period of a few months, that might work well for you.
However, with a private session, you’re much more likely to learn what you need in one go seeing as the session will have been planned specifically around what you need and want to learn.
What about free sessions – surely they’re a no-brainer?
Free or ‘taster’ training sessions are offered from time to time. Sometimes they’re part of a council-funded scheme to upskill members of the community or, more often, they’re courses offered by a marketing company looking to showcase themselves in front of potential new customers.
In the latter case, the quality of sessions can be high but you must bear in mind that the primary goal of the trainer is to win business further down the line. This means that your training session is part of their customer acquisition strategy so be mindful of being drawn in by sales tactics – you’re there to learn!
To conclude: making your decision
Ultimately, there are benefits to going to open seminars. They’re a cheaper alternative and you might meet some new contacts. It might be a useful dip in the water to see how your skills stack up against a typical audience and where you really need to learn more.
They’re also more likely to be the best option if you have little or no understanding of social media or a specific platform. Often seminars will cover the very basics of social media to ensure everyone is up to speed – this is why a total beginner may be well suited to attending one.
However, as you advance as a digital marketer, you may require more tailored support. You’ll also find that one-size-fits-all sessions won’t be as applicable to your business as a private session, especially if your business is in some way atypical. We have operated open seminars and one-off drop-in workshops so keep an eye out for them, but if you’re interested in in-depth training, take a look at our main training page.