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Another Side of Social Media: How Instructional Designers Can Build Relationships

When was your last light-bulb moment? For me it was using social media. No, not looking at my friend’s silly cat pictures, but while doing research for a social selling project. I realized that the landscape of building relationships is changing. I can certainly relate because one of my first jobs out of college was as an outside sales rep for an office furniture company. Somehow that “sales” component of my experience never left me.

From a 2014 State of B2B Procurement study from the Acquity Group, 94% of business buyers do some form of business research online. This online research provides the knowledge that empowers buyers to make informed decisions. Salespeople are encouraged to repost articles from experts in their field and use open-ended questions to spark a discussion. Perhaps a blog post could be written to share real stories and experiences. Sharing thoughts could possibly solve a problem for someone else. This is what customers want—to have someone help solve their problems. Why couldn’t instructional designers use these same principles?

Most of us already use social media for personal use. How about using it for work? We do research on a regular basis, and guess what? When you figure out how to teach something, you learn it. While sharing a great article from an expert in your field or tapping into what we use every day, figuring out the, What’s in it for me? and sharing it online helps connect you to more people with common interests.

It is not a stretch to see that Learning 3.0 is a natural fit for instructional designers to use social tools in a new way to teach and communicate with others. You can use this to make your mark by growing your social brand and adding more value.

Do you think you could allot a few minutes each week to reposting articles from experts in your field? How about writing a blog post? Before you know it, you are getting more LinkedIn requests, establishing yourself as a thought leader, and building your network with like-minded people.

Maybe, just maybe, you are having fun because not only did you learn something new, you helped others do it as well. Social media certainly isn’t going away, and most of us will continue to use it on a regular basis. You might as well use what you are doing every day to build relationships!

About the Authors

Lisa Aliquo
I am among the many people who fall into the category of “Accidental Instructional Designer”. Truth be told, it is one of the happiest accidents that has happened to me. Not only do I get to do what I love and constantly get to learn new things, but I also get to build relationships and partner with clients to find solutions to meet their learning needs. Most of my experience has been developing end-to-end solutions and wearing many hats as a facilitator, e-Learning developer, Instructional Designer and Project Manager. Maybe it is the challenge that I really enjoy while at the same time getting to use my creative side. Whatever it may be, I am thankful to have spent the last year working as an Instructional Designer with GP Strategies. Not only do I get to work with amazingly talented colleagues, but I get to be part of the cutting edge work we do every day.

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