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Last week I had the pleasure of helping to run a social media strategy workshop for our new client, a tertiary education institution.

For a little background: the organisation is already active within social media, with a Facebook presence and a reasonable ‘like’ base. One of its subsidiary brands has made even greater strides with a larger Facebook audience and a strong twitter profile. However this organisation, like many, has identified a distinct opportunity to improve and consolidate its social technologies to better engage with its customers and, importantly, its potential customers.

We had one day, 25 open-minded business leaders, an enthusiastic Sefiani team, one room and a stunning view over Sydney Harbour. Sounds like a promising start.

Although actually, I hear you thinking, that’s a lot of people. And not a great deal of time. How do you traverse the pros and cons of channels such as the pervasive Facebook and Twitter, compared with newer players such as Pinterest, Instagram and Google+?

How do you juggle different business priorites, varying levels of social media knowledge, a complex organisational structure, a broad and diverse customer base and limited resources to end up with a shared, and achievable, vision? All within a day?

Well, having an excellent facilitator on board certainly helps matters. Jane Jordan-Meier, author, media and communications expert and licensed facilitator is a specialist adviser to Sefiani, and her skills were a key contributor to the success of the day.

The schedule was highly interactive and drew upon various creative activities such as jenga to challenge each participant to think broadly and differently.

To ensure our thinking was aspirational, my colleague, Kelly Cull, and I presented a round-up of some excellent social media practice in the education sector around the world. We looked at big brands like Harvard and the London School of Economics, as well as more local reference points such as Macquarie University and Billy Blue College of Design.

We examined who was using which platforms well and where opportunities lay.

The team then got busy drawing, building, discussing exactly what an ideal social media strategy would look like for the Institution. We worked through risks, audiences, channels and, importantly, we ended up feeling enthusiastic and consolidated.

Now the real work and fun begins!

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