The social media landscape is in constant flux, with new platforms emerging (e.g. TikTok, BeReel) and algorithms changing.
As a social media marketing manager, keeping your skills up-to-date means you’re always using effective strategies and delivering value to your employer. It equips you with better skills in content creation, analytics, and community engagement.
Training courses and programs can also provide deep insights into user behaviour, as well as emerging social media trends – such as AI integration in social media or the role of micro-influencers in growing a brand.
So keeping up with these changes is not just helpful, it's essential. It means you're not just keeping pace with the industry but instead being the one driving the innovation.
But what do you do if you can’t afford the education and skills training? Convince your boss to pay for the training! Let’s look at how.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Convince your Boss to Pay for your Training
1. Check Company Policies
Investigate if your company already supports continued education. Look for information about eligibility, the types of programs covered, and the application process. Understanding these details can provide a strong basis for your request.
2. List Desired Training Programs
Next, identify specific courses, workshops, or conferences that align with your role and the company’s needs.
For each program, note the content covered, the reputation of the provider, the investment, duration, and start dates (if relevant).
Prioritise them based on relevance, but also the potential impact they can have on your employer’s business.
3. Outline the Rationale
Clearly articulate how the training aligns with company goals or addresses current challenges.
For instance, if short-form video is trending, explain how a course in video marketing can help to grow the company brand's online presence. Make sure you use industry trends and data to back up your points.
4. Calculate the ROI and Payback Period
Estimate how your new and improved skills could potentially increase sales, make you more efficient, or help you reach the brand’s target market.
For example, learning an AI tool for social media marketing could reduce the time it takes to manage a paid ad campaign, calculate the time you’ll save, where that time could be spent instead, and what impact that might have on growth.
In some cases it’s hard to calculate this exactly, so a high-level estimate is ok. The main thing is to think through the thought process – and communicate it to your boss or manager.
5. Compile Relevant Info
Compile all the relevant information into a single doc or presentation.
This should include all the info from steps 1 to 4 above – company policies and eligibility, your desired training program, the rationale, and the ROI and payback period.
You could include case studies or examples of how similar training has benefited other companies or departments.
6. Schedule a Meeting
You’re now armed with everything you need to pitch the social media training to your company’s decision-makers.
Send a request for an online or face-to-face meeting to discuss your proposal. Provide a brief overview of what you wish to discuss, so they’re prepared and know what to expect.
This approach shows respect for their time and allows them to ponder the idea before the meeting.
7. Anticipate Objections
Before the meeting, think about possible objections, such as budget constraints or time off work, and how you will respond.
You could offer flexible solutions like part-time or online courses that minimise work disruption or suggest a phased approach to the training.
8. Emphasise Long-Term Commitment During your Pitch
It’s now time to pitch the training during the meeting. Run through all the information you’ve gathered and why you believe the training is a great idea.
During the meeting, reiterate your commitment to the company and how the training aligns with your long-term career goals within the organisation.
Finish the pitch by reminding them that the skills you’ll learn will be used to benefit the company and your team.
What to Avoid
Don't Make an Ultimatum
Never suggest that you might quit if the training isn't approved. This approach can create unnecessary tension and may backfire, portraying you as disloyal or uncommitted to the business. You should always respect their position and right to say no.
Don’t be Defensive
Being defensive can set a negative tone. Be open to your boss's views and feedback, even if you don’t agree. This shows that you are professional and willing to listen.
Don't Expect Immediate Answers
Be patient. Your manager or boss might need time to consider your request, especially if it involves a large investment or a lot of time off.
Avoid Last-Minute Requests
Requesting funds for courses that start soon will create unnecessary pressure. Present your case well in advance, giving ample time for decision-making.
Don't Be Vague
A lack of detail will mean your request is unlikely to be approved. Be clear about what training you want, its cost, and how it benefits the company. Showing that you've done your homework will increase the likelihood of getting a yes.
It’s Not About You
While the training benefits your career, spend more time explaining how it benefits the company. Highlight the potential return on investment and growth for the business.
Don't Underestimate Costs
When talking through the investment, include all possible expenses like travel and accommodation (if relevant). Underestimating costs can lead to issues later and damage trust.
Avoid Confrontational Language
Pick your words carefully. Use positive, constructive language rather than a confrontational or demanding tone. Keep the discussion productive and focused.
In an ever-changing field like social media marketing, constant upskilling is not just a personal goal but a professional necessity.
By presenting the benefits to your employer, you can secure the necessary funding for your training, ensuring both your career AND organisation grow.
And remember, the worst they can say is no!
Looking for a good place to start with skills training for social media marketers? Check out our social media courses here.