Ahead Partnership connects schools and colleges with businesses and other organisations to equip young people for the world of work and strengthen the labour market for employers. The Lightcliffe workshop was arranged through their Make the Grade programme, which has helped over 100,000 young people to develop their employability skills.
Based in Cleckheaton, ABL Business provides commercial finance and marketing support to SMEs. During the workshop the ABL team demonstrated the power of social media within businesses to give the students a better understanding of customer targeting and community building.
ABL Marketing Assistant Emma Duff and Digital Designer Melanie Murphy used case studies to explain “Who the target audience is”, “The purposes of using social media for business” and “What message businesses are sending as a brand”. They focussed on four different businesses or brands including an SME based in Sheffield, a large Corporate, a high-profile influencer and a gaming company to help students understand the different needs these businesses would have on social media.
Before the visit to the Stoney Lane school, the Year 12 students were sent a one-page social media plan and a content plan giving them the opportunity to prepare by creating their own strategies.
Emma said “Social Media is a big part of young peoples’ lives, so it was fantastic to be able to show them how they can use this in their future careers. We spent about two hours with them and it was great to see how involved they were, interacting with us throughout the workshop and asking lots of questions. You could really see that they wanted to know more.
“Throughout the session we impressed on them why planning is so important, to make sure that businesses are using social media sites where their target audience is likely to be”.
Melanie added: “I really enjoyed being able to pass on my knowledge about social media and hope that the students managed to get some valuable information out of the workshop that will help them with their future careers.”
Feedback from Ahead Partnership reported that 84% of the students gave the activity a “good” or “excellent” rating, commenting that they “learnt how social media helps businesses grow, especially small businesses” and “that businesses use social media more than I thought”.