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

As a consultant, speaker and educator I provide common sense, practical and actionable social media advice to small business owners and solopreneurs. Active using LinkedIn and Facebook since 2007, Twitter since 2009, Google+ and Pinterest by invitation before public release and now Instagram, the advice, support and training I offer are based on close to a decade of experience in using social media for my personal and own business brands, not simply what I have been taught or read. I approach social media from a very different perspective than most in the industry. I teach small business owners to shift their view of social media; to understand it’s less about their content and more about networking and building relationships. I work with clients to create the blueprint they need to succeed, help put the infrastructure and systems in place and offer continuing support. Social media is more than a career. It’s my passion. Having spoken on and taught social media since 2011, you’ll get a knowledgeable, seasoned speaker who will deliver quality content without fluff and up-sells. I am available to speak or facilitate social media training workshops at your event on a variety of topics and have presented in Washington and Arizona. Speaking engagements and workshops can be tailored to your needs with presentations as short as 20-30 minutes and training workshops starting at 90 minutes.
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