When it comes to social media, are you a victim of our do-it-yourself culture? If so, I invite you to join me to stop the learning insanity. You know what I mean. The mindset that says as marketers we’re supposed to know everything about every aspect of every social media platform.
I was struck this morning by the sheer volume of tweets, blog posts, articles, videos, infographics, you-name-it, all proclaiming the same thing: Learn How to Do This (Social Media Thing). With the inevitable subtext, at least implied: And Reap the Rewards.
The insidious message embedded here is that You, Personally, must travel this learning curve, and do the work yourself. In fact, the Only Way You’ll Realize (choose one: ROI, better, competitive, efficient, effective) Results is to do it yourself. From scratch.
Stop the Learning Insanity
True, 10 years ago, there was no social media body of knowledge. Social media were too new for it to exist. Consider, with the exception of blogs, which have been around for more than 20 years, and websites, 30 years, we barely had social media. For those of you keeping track, LinkedIn launched in 2003, but few were paying attention before 2005. Twitter started and Facebook opened to the public in 2006. There weren’t experts in many of these platforms, or in the strategies and best practices. We were all learning, of necessity.
That’s not the case today, but the mindset that we’re supposed to learn everything persists. For those who do need to be experts, the relatively large (and lucrative) social media how-to business is needed.
But even though your business uses social media, or should start using social media as a communications and marketing tool, it doesn’t mean you have to learn all about it yourself.
Really, Some Ignorance is Okay
If your job is marketing, you don’t really need to know the technical aspects of any social platform. By technical, I mean knowing how tools work, what they cost, the relative merits of each. Sure, it’s good to know the basic strengths of each platform. More importantly, have some idea of how they work together, and which ones don’t. It’s good to understand which ones are most important for your business and goals. Just like you know if and when to use billboards or TV or print or an event or email.
Why? Because as Sy Syms, founder of Syms clothing stores, would say:
“an educated consumer is our best customer.” ~ Sy Syms
Beyond that, stop the learning insanity and call upon the social media experts.
With apologies to the person who wrote this, I ask: do you really need to know: “The ONLY 14 Tools You Need to Blow Up Your Instagram Account?” This is just one of many samples from this morning’s perusal.
Take a moment to digest this one:
The Only 14 Tools
subtext: There are others besides these. There are 14 intersections of tools where you might make a wrong turn.
to Blow Up
subtext: What, you didn’t know you need to aspire to this level of achievement? Slacker!
Your Instagram Account
subtext: Be aware, there are other, presumably equally large, sets of tools you also need for other platforms.
I’m exhausted just contemplating the learning I need to do just to achieve this one thing, something I didn’t even have on my to-do list. But now, I am consumed by FOMO and fear of being left behind. And horrors! I don’t even have an Instagram account!
It’s enough to make you insane!
Yes, tongue-in-check, but point made.
Let’s Get Real
Think of it this way: for decades, marketers have called for printed brochures without having any more than a cursory knowledge of copywriting, design or printing processes. They didn’t go out and research every printing press (or digital printer), inks, papers, and become expert at press registration. They also didn’t learn photography, copywriting, and graphic design.
The savvy marketers deferred to the expertise of those they hired to produce the brochure. They focused on knowing their markets, target audiences, needs of the customer, and how to internally source the best information about the product or service in the brochure.
What they did know of these specialized areas, they learned in conversation with a graphic artist or printer’s rep. People whose job is to know in excruciating detail how to achieve the results you want. Just like a social media expert today already knows how to deliver the social media results you need. It’s okay if you stop the learning insanity.Stop the Learning Insanity. You’ve got better things to do! Click To Tweet
Somewhere in our Information Age we have come to believe that we’re all supposed to know everything about anything related to what we do. Just because you can Google it doesn’t mean that you should. Just because there’s a webinar, an online course, an ebook, a trade show, a podcast series, doesn’t mean you have to take part. I confess, we too at Videorati are guilty of promoting this incessant learning. Our LinkedIn page has a showcase page devoted to how-to’s offered by various vendors and independent experts for those whose daily job does require technical knowledge. For the most part, we ourselves focus on teaching the why-to of social media, through a series of workshops. We set up your strategies, messages, metrics, and processes through our consulting services, so that you don’t have to.
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the incessant learning curve, the never-ending invitations that sometimes sound like admonitions to learn ‘how-to,’ give yourself a break.
Just stop learning.
How to Stop the Learning Insanity: Hire Experts
Consider whether learning how to do it yourself is the best use of your time.
Most often, it makes much more sense to let others bring their social media expertise to you. Tell them what you want to achieve, and let them tell you how best to achieve it. Ask them why. Knowing the why-to is harder, and more important. The answer should be easy to understand and based on their experience and best practices. Seymour Merinsky, aka Sy Syms, had a point. But he didn’t expect people to learn how to grow cotton, or weave cloth, or design clothes. He wanted them to appreciate quality and to recognize it when they saw it. Applied to social media, understanding the strategy and rational when the experts tell you the why-to is critical to your success.
Leave social media why-to and the how-to to the social media experts. You’ve got far better things to do. Chances are, you already have plenty of social media knowledge. Instead, make use of the knowledge you already have. That’s what you were hired to do. So, when you feel the urge to go read another how-to article or sign up for another webinar, stand up, look yourself in the mirror, and ask yourself out loud: “Do I Really Need to Learn This?”
Then, sit down in front of your computer and focus on your priority project for the day. Seriously. It’s far better use of your time, and your team and your employer will appreciate it. If the day’s priority is to get your social media program launched, or tuned-up, you can start working on that right here. Let’s talk!
I’ve spent 15 years building business-to-business social media programs and I’d like to help you build yours.