Tagged: social media training

Public communication in the evolving media landscape: adapt or resist?

Advanced social media training – it’s what I do

Richard Stacy Social Media TrainingI have been in the social media game now since 2006, but it is really only now that I have been able to put a finger on what it is I actually do – which is advanced social media training (click here to check this out and here to download the Infographic).

Because I always wanted to be a sole practioner, rather than create an agency, I previously described myself as a social media consultant.  Consultant is a label which sounds professional and strategic and in many ways it wasn’t a bad label because what I ended up doing largely revolved around producing strategies.

I remember one such project, which was quite a large assignment, culminating in a 3 hour session with the executive team of the organisation.  Two things really stick in my mind from this.  The first was the comment from the CEO at the end of the session.  He said, “that was fantastic.  I really enjoyed the session, except the bit where you told me my business model was going to have to change.”  The other was a comment from the marketing director, during a follow-up implementation session where she said, “the trouble with a social media strategy is that I don’t know where it stops, because I don’t know how to implement”.

I drew two conclusions from this. First, the production of a social media strategy has to be turned into a process so that an organisation can work both strategy and implementation  out for itself, rather than having something delivered.  This conclusion was strengthened when I finally realised that social media is actually much better understood as a business process, rather than a set of communications outputs.  The second conclusion was that there was no point in trying to draw a picture of how the world was going to change as a result of social media and the empowerment of consumers or customers, because embracing this is too difficult for most organisations – they have to see the flames and smell the smoke of burning business models in order to create the necessary sense of urgency.  Also, most organisations, especially the large ones, are not going to turn their businesses upside down because some upstart tells them trouble is on the way.  If McKinsey tells them trouble is on the way, that is another matter.  But even then, McKinsey would probably have to say it many times and extract many millions in consulting fees before the point strikes home.

As a result, while I still work on strategic projects, usually in cooperation with marketing or digital agencies, I dropped the idea that I provide social media strategies and shifted instead to the idea that I help design and implement a process – i.e. training.  The only problem with this is that training comes in smaller chunks, especially as I have refined my core offer down into a one-day session and it therefore requires greater volume of projects.  This is why my New Years resolution was to become more focused on promoting my training offer.  Hence a distillation of what I do in an Infographic (download and distribute widely!) some tweaks to the website (I now use WordPress.org so I can avail myself of the fabulous Yoast to optimise my posts) and a campaign where I will have to practise what I preach and get out there in the digital space within which people are asking the question, for which my training is the answer.

Advanced social media training

Richard Stacy Advanced Social Media TrainingA bespoke, one-day seminar

I deliver bespoke, one-day seminars, that help organisations understand social media as a business process that will create measurable improvements in business performance.  The output of these seminars is:

  • A totally new way of understanding social media
  • An action plan that can be implemented immediately.

I call this advanced, or stage two, social media training. Click here and you can download the full story as an Infographic, otherwise, read on.

Why advanced? Why stage two (and what was stage one)?

My experience of working with organisations over the last seven years is that the social media journey goes something like this:

Stage one: tools

This is where the focus is on the tools (mostly Facebook, Twitter and blogs) and how to use them as new channels to reach customers or consumers.  As with traditional media, we assume that the objective is to maximise the usage or reach of these channels and that the best way to do this is by producing lots of stuff and the content or activity which creates the most engagement, or scores the highest reach, gets awarded the ROI prize.

Stage two: destination

Then someone points out an awkward fact: simply measuring (and increasing) engagement is not the basis for defining a return on investment – unless you can show how all this engagement actually benefits the business.  The inability to establish this link forces an organisation to shift from seeing usage of the tools as the objective to focusing on achieving measurable improvements in business performance.  Key to doing this is understanding social media as a business process, rather that a set of communications outputs.  It is not about trying to engage audiences, it is about identifying and responding to individuals – mostly actual or potential customers.

Stage three: scale

This is where the organisation takes what it has learned from stage two and rolls these processes out across the whole business.  A social business process becomes integrated into all business systems and the challenge becomes framed by how you change the business, not by how you change communications.

My focus is on managing the transition from stage one to stage two.  Knowing if you are ready to take this step is not dependent on the size of your organisation or the length of time you have been ‘doing’ social media.  It is only dependent on a realisation that you can’t justify, in terms that the CEO of finance director would appreciate, why you actually have a Facebook page or Twitter account (or maybe even why you should set up these in the first place).


Each seminar costs £1,500 (€1,800) and I am sure you will see it as money well spent.  However, don’t take my word for it, take these people’s words:

Richard’s ability to communicate his knowledge so effectively meant our team came away from the session finally understanding the full benefits of using social media and a very clear plan of how to move forward.

Carl Holloway,
Senior Communications Officer,
Preston City Council

Richard’s work is great, it helps our clients understand how to use social media, but also how to make it complement traditional broadcast media.

Alison PageDirector of Client & Category Development,Global Radio

Our session with Richard helped us understand how to focus our digital activity on the areas where we could actually achieve measurable and positive outcomes.

Eike Wobker
Digital Media Manager
Biersdoff CEE (Nivea)

I have always had suspicions that many brands haven’t yet worked out how to use social media effectively.  Richard’s work has shown me why I was right to have those suspicions.

Dominic Lyle
Director, European Association
of Communications Agencies

If you are want to talk to me about creating a seminar for your own organisation, drop me a line at stacyconsulting@googlemail.com



Eurostar: good traditional customer service, poor social customer service

FailureI use Eurostar in many of my social media training sessions and presentations as an example of an organisation that (still) hasn’t really got social media.  The reason for this is that while their traditional customer care may be quite good, it hasn’t yet worked out how to do real-time customer care, using social media.

I use a couple of examples: one is an instance of lack of response to some rather poor food I was once served (see this post) and the other is in relation to a horrible delay I experienced nearly a year ago.  The issue, in both cases, is that fact that Eurostar are not doing the number one thing any organisation needs to do first in social media: listening to their customers and responding in real time. Continue reading