A Social media strategy can be a daunting task for anyone not familiar with the platforms or their processes. Susie Thompson from Clear Hayes spoke with Oli Garside, Course Instructor for the Marketing Association’s Social Media Marketing Workshops, to learn why understanding the channels is key.

“Social media is a house party, but you don't want to be the person that spends all night talking about yourself.”

That enlightened advice comes from Oli Garside, Training and Campaign Manager for Mosh and Course Instructor for the Marketing Association’s (MA) Social Media Marketing Workshops.

For Garside, the importance of building brand awareness across social media is not going to diminish anytime soon. In fact, as he points out, during the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 there was 47% growth in social media use across New Zealand and Australia.

“There are many things that social media can do really well as part of a broader marketing strategy. Don’t let your fear of not understanding it deter you from not learning about it,” he says.

Garside, who boasts an impressive CV of social media roles during his time at Samsung and ad agency Barnes, Catmur & Friends (BC&F), now facilitates all the training provided by social media agency Mosh and the MA.

“Social media is a fast moving landscape. Those looking to specialise in channels need to begin to skill up. Not just through our courses, but by utilising every self-directed learning module you can access through the likes of Google Ads or Meta for Business,” he says.

Knowing the channel and how to use it will be key for many marketing roles in the future. And as Garside implores, don’t undersell or underestimate your abilities.

There still tends to be a perception that a social media manager is someone that’s fresh out of university, or that it is an entry level job. But that is really not the case. For people looking to get into social media as a marketer, my main advice is to just get out and start trying. It’s easier when you have a genuine interest in it, however you absolutely need to know what you’re doing when creating for brands,” he says.

One reason for needing this level of expertise is that customers now expect brands to be available on the platforms they use.

“Consumers want access and contact with the brands they engage with or support. If you’re not up to standard across social media, it really stands out,” he explains.

Social media marketing is also one of the easiest to access and most cost effective marketing channels in New Zealand, Garside says. It’s little wonder then, that many of our smaller brands utilise these channels as their main source of marketing. For Garside, even a small budget can put you in front of a large audience - but you’ve got to be pulling the right levers.

The Marketing Association’s Social Media Marketing Workshops are essentially a 101 for all things across the channel and different platforms. We cover what they’re best used for, how to create content, explore paid advertising, and deep dive into all-important community management.

“The Advanced Social Media Course is even more in-depth. Here we look at the nuts and bolts of social media use in a wider marketing mix. The students get a deeper understanding of platforms and the details surrounding success across the channel,” he says.

The two courses from the MA encourage collaboration and team communication to get people thinking creatively about social strategies collectively. Often combining individuals of different levels, the workshops aim to give marketers a better understanding of how their agency or brand can speak to the market.

“We build and use the real content framework that Mosh uses, and begin to underpin the processes you’ll need to create great content. These courses don’t just give you a much deeper understanding of the market in New Zealand. They also equip future social media marketers with the confidence that comes from understanding how the different platforms work,” says Garside.

Written by Susie Thompson, Communications Consultant - NZ Lead & Courtney Devereux, UK Client Lead, Clear Hayes

The Marketing Association Social Media Marketing Workshops are available once a month for individuals of all levels across the country. Click here to find out more.