Say you are new to the field and you want to learn about social media. Or perhaps you just want to learn more. What is the best way to do that? Do you take a social media course? Do you enroll in a social media training program? Do you buy some books and teach yourself? The reality is there are a lot of options out there, none of which are as simple as just pushing a button. The best answer will depend on whether you are after information or skills.
How To Get Social Media Training?
I have been challenged at times to find the most effective way to teach social media. Given my academic background, when I think about teaching or learning social media, I think about formal courses and curriculum. But my experience has taught me that academics often train people how to be academics, and that is not what people are usually looking for. Sure, people want academic knowledge, but they usually need skills more.
Is a Social Media Course The Answer?
Academics are very good at research, so I dug in and investigated what colleges are offering as “social media courses” these days. What I found was very interesting. A lot of places offer courses that talk about the history of Facebook and Twitter, review social networking theory, common types of interactions, and basic social media marketing principles. This is valuable information, but most curriculum is devoid of practical and applicable training. In short, students leave the course with knowledge, but not skills. This is of questionable practical use because social media knowledge is being updated and outdated every few months.
What Are The Important Parts?
Now, do not get me wrong. I think courses are great, and I’ve taken lots of good courses in my college career, but skills come through doing, not hearing. So if you want to learn social media, you must be hands on. You need to start posting and tweeting right away. However, you do need a teacher if you want to learn efficiently in such a big field.
You need a mentor, not just a course instructor. That is the big key right there. Everyone already knows some things about social media, and most courses will cover everything you already know plus some new things. A mentor can help by starting where YOU are and filling in the blank areas so there is no wasted time or effort.
The Impact of Social Media Mentoring
I am amazed at the results that mentoring can produce. And the process is so simple. The learner dives into their actual social media goals and the mentor supports, trains, and gives feedback. Progress towards a real goal is made, and the learner gains access to the unique knowledge needed to develop specific skills. The key however is finding the right mentor and having ready access to them.
The first step to learning about social media is getting your feet wet enough to understand how much there is to learn. You can start today by downloading our Free Guide To Social Media 101!