Lesson one: admit you need to learn

How many people do you know who learned to drive simply by getting into a car and driving it?  How many do you know that passed a French exam without even taking a single French lesson? Ever met someone who got job as a chef without ever consulting a single cook book? My guess is probably not many.  To do any of these things you need to spend time learning and preferably work with someone who can share the benefit of their expertise and teach you.  While it may be possible - with a little patience and a good deal of hard work - to make progress in many of these disciplines, you can be sure that no-one becomes an expert overnight.

It’s unlikely that any of this is news to you……and yet, when it comes to social media, it would appear that almost everyone is reluctant to admit ignorance.

While for millions social media does what it says on the tin (ie: provide a media through which to socialise), for businesses it is a valuable and increasingly important tool.  Not just a marketing channel but also a means of engagement with customers, suppliers and other stakeholders; a resource for research and market intelligence; a platform for expression and shared interests. So even those who use social media for personal entertainment may have limited understanding of the scope and capabilities it has for business.

Just as you wouldn’t expect to buy a new software package, install it and use it perfectly first time, you shouldn’t expect the mysteries of social media to suddenly reveal themselves with little bit of pottering about through the virtual world either.  Certainly the tutorials that Twitter and Linked In provide are useful but they’re a bit like the instructions that come with flat packed furniture: a lot easier to understand once someone’s explained them!

The upshot is that if you’re going to use social media for business you should approach it in a business-like manner.  Decide what you want social media to achieve, investigate how you can align it to communication channels and commercial processes and, above all, invest in some expert training.

CME is still compiling the content for our October Social Media Workshop so if you’d like to get involved and ensure it’s a training session tailored to your goals, why not get in touch.