This article first appeared as Anthony Bullick’s column in the Daily Post business section on 12 December.

As focus shifts to 2018, many organisations are setting business strategies and identifying how marketing can help increase sales enquiries.

Digital communications including social media will likely be at the top of the list because it’s free and self-publishing.

For many SMEs, there is no in-house marketing role, which means responsibility for social media is often passed to an employee as an extra task to carry out in addition to their ‘normal’ duties.

Using the likes of Twitter personally is very different to using it commercially, and adequate social media training and support will ensure time is spent as productively as possible.

The first step is to identify how much time is available for both social media marketing and training, as well as the best way for the employee to stay up to date on the latest Facebook algorithm alts or LinkedIn profile changes.

Review the resources from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). From webinars and e-books to blog posts and workshops, the two organisations have a wealth of options to suit the learning styles of different people.

In addition, business organisations including the West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce and Institute of Directors (IoD) have similar content available to members.

If time permits, read blogs and expert commentary articles and sign up to industry newsletters. A good article or video will offer the user tips and advice, not just state the fact there has been a social media update.

Digital PR agencies may offer social media training. The benefits of using an agency in this way include support with strategy creation and the trainer can impart their knowledge and wisdom.

Sessions could range from a half-day course, which is a useful introduction to corporate digital communications, to monthly consultancy, with the trainer essentially becoming a line manager for all things social media.

The trainer can then create a development plan and continue to nurture the employee by identifying related training requirements to enhance social media activity. This includes Google Analytics, setting up and running paid campaigns, and creating visuals.

A Facebook feed strewn with grammatical or spelling errors can reflect badly on the company. Any training and development should take into consideration having a good grasp of the English language, too.