They're not hard to find after a bit of Googling. Most last several hours to a day and cost anywhere from several hundred dollars to over a thousand. I won't name names but I think that high end of the scale is way over the top. How on earth could you justify charging this amount!
Cost aside, courses like this certainly do have value -- as do those completed online via sites like Udemy, linked in the right sidebar. It's great to get a roundup of various terms, concepts, best practices and things to avoid.
But even though I'm sure that all these local courses affirm the importance of persistence and practice in mastering social media, there's a widely held assumption that several hours of guidance from a qualified expert will supply you with everything you need to know. So I think that some students will walk away thinking they've made progress already, and consequently put off actually creating accounts and getting stuck into it.
And it's just so important to get cracking, and soon, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, while you may have a good idea of how to approach things, you're going to have to figure out how to tailor your approach depending on your particular niche, target market and aims. Every one is different, after all. There's no one size fits all tactic; one universally correct method.
In this way, social media marketing is actually a bit of an art form. There are basic skills and concepts you need to learn and they are pretty straightforward. But then you need to make them your own. And you can only really develop and hone these through trial and error.
So if you've done one of these courses in person or online that's great but it's really just the start. It's going to be weeks if not months before you start to feel confident with what you're doing -- to find your style, so to speak.
Then there's the fact that the wheels of social media move very slowly. Nothing happens until you've built up your network a bit. And that doesn't happen overnight.
Sure, you don't have to have squillions of followers. But I'd say that on most social networks it's important to have at least a hundred. Once you're at that level, you'll see benefits in the form of clicks to your website, shares from other people, etc. The general engagement that occurs really gives you a sense of what's possible and how much time and effort you're going to have to keep putting in to get what you want. This is really important particularly if you have primarily commercial aims and require a decent ROI.
Needless to say, it's going to take regular, sustained activity to get to that level. Let's say you're keen to build a local network of businesses in Perth on Twitter. You can start getting on their radar by following and engaging with them (non-spammily, of course!) from day one.
About a third of those will follow back eventually. That means to get to 100 local followers you'll have to be following at least 300. And it will take a while for all of those who will follow back to do so. So, if you're following 10 people a day on average -- and you don't want to do way more than this due to the risk of being marked as a spammer by Twitter -- it'll probably take your around 6-8 weeks to get those 100 followers.
Social media activity need not take a large chunk out of your day for it to be beneficial. You just have to persist with it. Before you know it you've absorbed it into your routine. And it's fun, so it doesn't seem like work anyway.
But however you cut it it's going to take some time to gather momentum. That's why it's crucial to get going ASAP! For this reason I think that if you had a choice of doing some comprehensive, expensive course -- well regarded though it may be -- and just learning by jumping in the deep end and muddling through it yourself, the latter option would probably be the best.