You’ve Heard of the Stages of Grief, But Have You Heard About the Stages of Learning Social Media Marketing? … They’re Not That Far Off

When entering the Social Media Marketing course, fears of my own lack of personal social media presence filled my presumably not-so tech savvy mind.  If I didn’t even have an Instagram picture to my name, and no Twitter account filled with thoughtful tweets and comical celebrity re-tweets, how would I be able to survive this course, or even more terrifying, how would I survive being in charge of the social media marketing for a potential employer?  However, these worries set off a motivational plan of action and I welcomed the first week of the eight-week course as a nervous yet bight-eyed and bushy-tailed marketing student in training. 

Social Media Marketing Stage 1: Digital Inadequacy

The first few weeks of the course brought about notions of self-analysis as I learned about the key aspects of social interactivity, and the desired ‘hubs’ and ‘pumps’ that companies use to increase social connectivity and engagement.  At that point, I could safely and embarrassingly say that given my one social media platform and 3 year-old profile picture, I was neither one of these desired groups that various brands are looking for. 

Social Media Marketing Stage 2: Numerical Dread

To add insult to injury, the next few chapters covered Social Media Audits and key Media Metrics.  So, put yourself in my shoes.  First, you acknowledge that the average twelve-year-old has a more active social media presence, and then, add math… Thankfully, measuring all numerical values when it comes to audits are not necessary.  It’s more important to measure what is relevant rather what is available. 

Social Media Marketing Stage 3: Hey, I Think I Can Do This!

Part of being able to talk about one’s faults is also acknowledging one’s strengths.  Through the personal SWOT Analysis I have so comically conducted on myself, I may not have strengths in being an active member on various social media platforms, but a strength I do possess is being a natural planner.  Aside from gaining satisfaction from crossing an item off my to-do list, Post-It Notes are a common form of wall decoration in my life.  I found my stride in Social Media Marketing through utilizing strategic planning and communication campaigns.  Math skills aside, conducting the plan that fits best the budget, target market, and proper platform, was an area in which I felt confident.

Social Media Marketing Stage 4:  Send Help

As with many aspects of life, its always best to never get ahead of one’s self.  And lo and behold, that aspect most definitely applies to learning social media marketing.  I’ve lost track of the amount of physical nose-to-computer screen peering as various speakers discuss Paid vs. Earned Social Media, or the amount of staring through my fingers as it is open-palmed on my face while reading about ‘Seeding’ & reaching ‘The Masses’. 

Social Media Marketing Stage 5: I May Not Be An Expert, But I Will Be

Alright.. I know this process has been a bit of a roller-coaster.  But after eight weeks of a social media marketing course, I can say that I have learned a lot and have credited areas in which I excel.  Designing social media content through content marketing has been a section that has been fascinating.  Content marketing and utilizing my skills of organization also allows for fun experiences when creating new product development plans and strategizing a product launch campaign.  What I have largely learned from this course as well, is that it is also surrounded in customer service.  Customer service still applies to the social media world, where how a marketer responds, and if they respond at all, can be critical to managing consumers and positive brand image. 

“When it comes to social media marketing, you don’t have to post 3 times a day. It’s never about how often you post but the quality of your content.”

 Janet Benson Amarhavwie, Social Media Manager

After completing the eight-week course, I am not an expert by any means, but all the worries and content struggles I had during the start of the course have significantly dissipated.  I came into the course thinking that my struggles would be tied into the lack of personal social media activity I engage in every day.  However, what I learned is that personal activity plays such a small roll in the grand scheme of social media marketing.  Sure, I may not have 500,000 followers or post ten times a day, but that doesn’t mean that my understanding of social media marketing will be negatively impacted.  Social Media Marketing is so connected to the interaction with a company and the consumers involved, that true understanding, I believe, will only be gained through the process of actually experiencing consumer feedback and understanding what strategies have proven successful to a target market.  As discussed throughout this article, some areas of learning social media marketing are going to come naturally, while others may feel like pulling digital teeth. As you all go about your own journey of learning social media marketing, what stages have you encountered?

Resources:

How to do a social media audit in seven surprisingly simple steps (Infographic) – Bakerview Consulting

Stephen & Bart. Social Media Marketing: Principles and Strategies