How to Teach Social Media To Others

Quite often I am approached by friends or referrals with the request to teach them about the world of social media. Some just want to learn more about the industry I work in and others are dissatisfied with what schooling has taught them and want to know how social media and spending time on a social network can be something turned into a career. Whichever the case I am usually glad to sit down with them in person or over Skype and discuss what it is that I do exactly – with mixed reactions, but overall quite positive and inspired.

Here’s how I usually like to approach the conversation:

1. There’s No Such Thing as a “Social Media Expert” – quit calling me one: This is the one that comes up even before we have our first conversation. Usually the first line is “I heard you’re a social media expert” followed by “can you teach me how to do what you do?” For me I always tell the person to backtrack, then follow up by saying that there is no such thing as a social media expert – because there truly is none. The industry is changing by the second, so how can anyone be an expert? You can be an expert at the English language, at baking a cake or at organic chemistry compounds, but not social media. We are all learning on a daily basis, and will continue to do so, and I don’t think we’ll stop.

2. Relate the topic to something understandable: I like to relate one topic to another because it’s important that people are able to see parallels with how social media is to how their life is. Remarkably there are many similarities. One I like to use is to compare the social media ecosystem and the aspects involved there into the dating world. When you’re able to make sense of a familiar thing (dating) with the unfamiliar (social media) people catch on, and you can guarantee a few laughs too.

3. Emphasize the Process but Don’t Forget the Experience: In my young social media career I’ve been asked if I spend time on Facebook and Twitter all day. The answer is a clear and obvious no as my job involves enterprise communities but even if I did, I would also be spending time blogging, targeting who I follow and preparing analytics to see how well social media is doing. In teaching social media to others I like to emphasize the process of social media, from scheduling content to preparing content calendars to analyzing important data indicators. In the same sentence I also tell those learning not to forget the experience, namely the valuable conversations and relationships built over social media.

4. Introduce them to the community: The social media world is big and overwhelming from someone who might be a newcomer. I always take time to ask if they would like introductions to folks in the space already who are running their own businesses, have a day job in the industry, are engaging thought leaders or are new just like them. Finding someone to relate to can be one of the biggest pluses for staying in the industry once someone has joined.

I do find definite joy in being able to share my career with others. If there is any aspect of what I do that I can share with you please do let me know! I’d be glad to chat – and of course, explain how social media and dating have anything in common!

Social Media: A Married Profession

A friend of mine got married yesterday in a beautiful ceremony.

Social Media WeddingAs I was reflecting upon their relationship and the forces that brought them there, my mind shifted over to its usual spot – social media. Like a solid marriage, social media is also built on a solid foundation that comprises the marriage of several different skill sets:

1. Socialization: To do social media you must be social. Engaging with your audience is a requirement, not an option. The better you engage the better your social media efforts come out to be. A sea of tweets gone unanswered is absolutely unacceptable, much like a one way conversation with you and others is disrespectful.

2. Technical Skills: My background in school was management information systems and I’ve applied that into social media through the ability to understand permission levels on community-based platforms like Jive and analytics for Facebook, Twitter and Google Analytics. To be great at social media you must possess these skills because it is these skills that allow for you to tweak your social presence and campaigns in order to better match your goals. Technical skills also involve the ability to strategize on social media – or social media street smarts.

3. Soft Skills: Social media involves an extensive amount of writing, and being able to write well is an important skill to possess in terms of communication. Additionally because social media is so new, being able to speak about the profession is key as well since everyone wants to learn more about social media and how to do it well.

A good relationship falls apart when there is a lack of balance. With a lack of balance between socialization, soft skills and technical skills so too does a social media strategy. To my friends who got married yesterday I wish them a blessed life of love, and to you, the reader, I wish you the best in your marriage of your social media skills!

What other skills would you suggest is crucial to a successful social media strategy? Please leave a comment below!

 

The Importance of Social Media Content Calendars

Social media can be quite an overwhelming to-do list of items. One can easily be buried, never to be seen again.

Whether you work in business to business or business to consumer or even consumer to consumer, social media is a daunting task of content, engagement and creating an experience that facilitates the customer journey. Where engagement can be rather simple in starting, continuing or taking a conversation to the next level, content is difficult. There are always many options for content, whether this be video, podcasts, written blogs, or photos.

Content Calendar

Introducing the content calendar!

Content calendars are a staple of the social media content marketer. Underutilized, social media content calendars are one of many ways for marketers to stay focused and organized on how they market to their audience. Taken to its full potential, a social media content calendar will help marketers stay on task so that they can focus on all the other things that they need to do.

Some tips on creating a social media content calendar:

1. Work with a schedule that works for you: Some marketers can get away with pushing content at least once a day, some more. Others find themselves so busy that pushing content once a week is optimal. Whichever the case, work with a content schedule that works for you and does not leave you stressed.

2. Figure out what content works best for you: Some people look great on video, others not so much. Some people have great voices, and others not so much as well. Figure out what content works best for you and go from there. If that type of content creation allows you to be efficient, move forward with it!

3. Have Fun: Putting together a content calendar allows for creativity, such as planning your next campaign or creating a useful series to educate others. Make sure you have fun – and you will! The burden of creating great content will be lifted off of you, now that you know what direction to move forward in!

Do you use a social media calendar? Leave a comment below!

How Attending Your High School Reunion Will Help You Understand Your Social Media Strategy

I’m one of the younger authors on this site, but I’m old enough to remember when Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and MySpace were not a part of my everyday waking life. Sure, I was a high school student then, but even back in the early days where people weren’t really connecting on social media, I wondered what the class reunions would be like after graduation.

The beginning of October usually means homecoming and reunions season for schools of all levels all across the United States. People whom theoretically have not seen each other for five, ten years, all aim to get back together and catch up on new events and reminisce on new times. Social media of course, has changed all that. Now without showing up, you can see that Joe got married and that Mary moved three states away and that Harry and Christine, once sworn enemies in high school now seem to be the best of friends.  Social media has in some ways, replaced meeting in person by allowing people to instead observe from afar the changes that have been made since people last met, to the point where some think that attending reunion is somewhat pointless.

Like your social media strategy however, just knowing half the story about anyone at your reunion doesn’t mean you know the whole story!

Despite knowing everything however, social media is not the end all, be all for knowing what all your buddies have been up to since graduation. After all, like your social media and marketing strategy, just knowing what your friends are doing on Facebook without seeing their LinkedIn or having talked to them in person since graduation is not enough. The story after all, is a lot deeper than we all imagine it to be. Your Facebook page, much like your knowledge of your acquaintance Ted after graduation, might be golden, but you don’t know about the other things going on in his life, much like if you were to ignore your Twitter strategy.

So this fall, book those tickets and get back to the people you knew when you were in school. Sure, sitting around the punch table talking about your practical jokes on your English teacher doesn’t measure up to receiving a Klout perk, but at least you know that like your social media strategy, you know the whole story, instead of just bits and pieces!

Why Yes, That Blog Post Can Help You Get a Job!

Just a decade ago, blogs were the new medium on the block. In my generation, they were used to vent about the day, stalk a school crush and share content. While generations after have continued this trend, blogs have also become an important aspect in careers: a blog is a crucial tool in the job hunt.

Speaking to students about blog jobI speak to many recent graduates in this tough job market. New graduates have the toughest time being able to find work, and it’s perfectly understandable: fresh talent, while cheap, is also a risk that some are unwilling to take. As a new graduate, it’s important to be able to explain to companies why you are a risk worth taking. Nowhere better is this than blogs!

Are you still on the fence as to why you should start a blog for your career? Consider the following reasons:

  1. Blogs makes you look professional: We’re not talking about your angst but rather your career interests. When you link your blog to your LinkedIn account or other professional profiles, you make it known that you are passionate about your topic, and are inviting potential recruiters and future co-workers to read into your ideas.
  2. Blogs makes you look passionate: Blogs are great tools to show your observational side. So much of the professional world requires that individuals are able to analyze, observe and draw conclusions. Can you do that? If you can, a blog is a great idea.
  3. Blogs builds your personal brand: I’ve blogged many times here about personal branding, and a blog is a perfect starting point for just that. Blogs serve as an excellent arena for stakeholders like recruiters, or your boss, to examine when they want to remember who you are, or to justify a new hire.
  4. Blogs builds your network (or “tribe”): Networking, as I have explained on this blog many times, is an important activity to partake in. Many bloggers out there are members of “tribes” where they help share each other’s content. In that process, you might just find that person who helps you out.

If you’re ready, it’s very simple to get started! Whether you’re using Tumblr (like me) or another software like WordPress or Joomla, each can have the power to help you get where you want to go.

Happy blogging!

Do you have a personal blog? Have you thought about starting a new blog? What has stopped you from doing it so far? Please leave a comment below!

How New Graduates Can Break into Social Media

It’s been a few months since the class of 2012 graduated, and the job market is still a tough one to meander through. These days, new graduates feel just as pinched as older ones – except that they don’t seem to have the requisite experience needed to be able to succeed in the business world, in particular social media.

To break into the social media industry, new graduates can follow some steps to make the process easier.  Additionally, if employers can see that you practice what they want you to do, the hiring process is easier as well! While finding, landing and succeeding at the job is still up to them, these steps can help:

  1. Reading industry blogs: Industry blogs are some of the most fascinating pieces of material out there. Unlike textbooks which change by the revision, blogs change with every new piece of news out there, which means there can be many revisions a week, even hour. Understanding the content laid out in blogs assists new graduates in being able to speak intelligently during interviews.
  2. Creating an Individual Brand: Everyone is on the Internet these days, and standing out is difficult. Personal branding, as much as a moniker as it’s been accused of being, is more powerful than ever. Personal branding includes writing your own blog and creating a definable social media presence, along with real life networking.
  3. Getting out there and networking: Networking is THE way to go these days. Many jobs aren’t even advertised on job boards. While networking, it is important to understand the value of creating relationships, not just to get business cards. As many individuals in the industry network too, this can be a valuable experience.

There are of course, more ways to get out there but these three are an easy start. Good luck out there on the job hunt!

What are your suggestions for finding the perfect social media job out of university/college? Please leave your comments bellow!

 

 

Hello World: My Social Media Story

As was typical, it was a blue, blustery day in Silicon Valley that fateful May day in 2009. I was at Santa Clara University, my alma mater, and working in the marketing/communications office as a web content assistant. As was the typical day most of the time, I was on the computer, working on one of the university laptops, making some changes on a university site.

Doing social media in an officeA few minutes later, the communications director of Santa Clara University came out of her office. It was a big day – we had finally gotten control of our Facebook brand page, and it was time to take the page forward. She asked among the interns to no one in particular: “Who wants to help me work on this?”

I had always been kind of a social media nut. Back when Facebook was rather new for me in October of 2005, my interest for Facebook was fascinating even for me. Then as an introverted high schooler, I found social media to be an amazingly useful repository for the information of my friends. I immediately became obsessed, and as I went through college, used Facebook to further my interest in the events that I helped create for clubs and organizations.

“I will”, I said, raising my hand. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but I figured I was in college. Why not?

Going forward from there, I started helping my university with social media on a daily basis, working with the communications director on content to be posted daily, in addition to my current role of publishing content to university webpages.

It was the day also, that my life changed.

Since that time, I have worked in the social media industry. My academic degree by trade is Management Information Systems (MIS), but my roles now since I graduated in 2010 have largely hinged on social media program management and internal consulting. In the time being, I have also learned about branding, marketing and networking in being able to surround myself with great people who have helped me become better.

You too, can also change your social media story: go out, make it happen, and make it awesome. The rest will come naturally.

How did social media change your life? Tell me about your social media story in the comments bellow!