Getting Started Using Social Media – Be careful when paying for classes

An email recently crossed my inbox that promised by the end of the four-hour class I would understand what social media was and more importantly, know how to use social media to benefit my business.

After reading the entire email, I chuckled.  I have no issues with most social media classes offered.  In fact, the vast majority are great.  I’ve even sat in on a few.  If taught correctly participants will leave with a better understanding of social media, how its use can positively impact your business or organization, and will definitely get you started in the right direction (or provide information on getting to the next level for more advanced classes).  What bothered me so much in reading the email was the implied promise that in exchange for my $200 and 4 hours of my time, I’d learn how to properly use social media to benefit my business.

Using social media, regardless of the platform, to monetize your business is NOT a simple process that one can learn in a few hours.  There are simply too many variables, nuance, techniques and strategies that one must understand before you’ll see results.  Even once you master the posting/interaction aspect, you need to realize that social media only works if you have an audience.   There is no magic bullet.  Learning how to effectively use social media takes time.  It’s taken me several years of experimenting, reading and learning to generate the results I now enjoy.  Even as a social media trainer, with having successfully employed social media within my own businesses, I still couldn’t provide you the necessary knowledge based in a 4 hour class even if only one platform was discussed (the email alluded to understanding Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogs, Twitter & more).

If you truly want to learn how to use social  media, find a free class or two (there are plenty in my area on a regular basis) and get the basics.  The start using it.  Don’t worry about results or how to post – just post (My advice – stay away from politics, religion, polarizing topics and don’t try to sell me),  As you post more, pay attention to the reaction (or lack of).  Experiment with different words and phrases.  *Twitter is great in this respect since it is a public timeline and people search for keywords*.

Once you start getting comfortable, look to take additional classes on specific topics/aspects you need to learn in more detail.  If available in your area, look for a group or organization that teaches ongoing classes and ideally ones taught by business people like yourself that have succeeded in using social media for themselves.  Like any discipline, the learning builds on itself.


About Robert Nissenbaum

Kayaker | Speaker | Writer | Consultant. Twisted views on brand, content, social media marketing, & SEO which get results; Voice of @tsomedia & @wordcampseattle
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