Kat asks, “If a college student asked you the #1 thing they should be focusing on when it comes to social media, what would you tell them?”
Social media is a big topic. From a business perspective, it encompasses advertising, marketing, PR, sales, customer service, investor relations, analyst relations – in other words, the entire communications spectrum. My advice would be to learn:
- How business works – strategy, tactics, operations
- How people work – psychology, linguistics, neuroscience
Only then should you dig into social media:
- Content creation
Watch the video for full details:
Can’t see anything? Watch it on YouTube here.
Listen to the audio here:
- Got a question for You Ask, I’ll Answer? Submit it here!
- Subscribe to my weekly newsletter for more useful marketing tips.
- Find older episodes of You Ask, I Answer on my YouTube channel.
- Need help with your company’s data and analytics? Let me know!
What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.
In today’s episode cat asks, If a college student asked you the number one thing they should be focusing on when it comes to social media, what would you tell them? Well, I would say social media is a really big topic. From a business perspective. It encompasses advertising, marketing, public relations, sales, customer service, Investor Relations, analyst relations, media relations, in other words, is pretty much the entire communications spectrum. If you think about how businesses communicate with other people, and all the roles and functions within business, that’s what social media does. Social media is it’s a, it’s a channel, it’s a distribution method. It is a it is an entity that that spans multiple departments, because it’s a way to communicate in the same way that mail is and the telephone is.
And so he asked me like, what’s your telephone strategy? sounds kind of weird, doesn’t it? It’s like, Well, I mean, maybe back in in the late 1800s, somebody actually did say, you know, so a Western Lindemann, which was the first company in 1868 to offer a money back guarantee. And as Watkins learned Watkins limit, what’s your telephone strategy? I mean, it does sound a little weird. But the the general concept is, because this is a communications method. Yeah, there isn’t a thing to learn in it, it’s you have to learn
to take your understanding up a level. So what should that college student be focusing on, if you got four years, two to four years, depending on what program you’re in, maybe longer if you’re going for a master’s degree, you need to first learn how business works. That is the most important thing, which is strategy tactics, operations, finance, accounting, how does a business operate and function because if you don’t know that, you’re going to be completely ineffective and understanding what your stakeholders want when you get handed a social media job. So getting a a bachelor’s degree in business administration, probably not a bad idea, or at least taking some business admin courses. If you just flat out can’t or it’s a little too late. And you’re you’re graduating just got the the cap and gown, pick up a copy of a book series called the pocket MBA this family large book, but it’s a really good introduction to understanding how a business works. Second, social media is about people, which means you need to understand how people work in order to be effective in social media. So there are three fields that you should really take a look at psychology, and how people use their brains to think about things and how people react linguistics because a substantial portion of social media is still how we communicate using words, even when we’re using photos and videos and stuff, I’m still talking. So
it this is not pantomime. This is not just pure images alone. And so the understanding language in linguistics is important. The third is neuroscience. How does the body we actually how does the mind we act, how does how do things work inside the human that are that give you guidance about social media, for example, we have evolved to recognize using our visual apparatus of the human face, it’s one of the first things we notice, if you take any photo and just pay attention to it, you will visually lock onto the people’s faces first. That’s just how we’ve adapted and and grown as a species. So if you understand how business works, and you understand how people work, then you can dig into social media. And then there’s five areas within social media, you should be paying attention to one strategy. And that goes levels back up to business strategy. The second is the creation of content, learn how to create content, the written word, the spoken word, the visual, interactive, virtual, whatever the methodology is of the day, learn how to create content for the channels, going to be participating in social media,
if you’re in that a good part of that, by the way, involves research, understanding your audience and what your audience consumes, how they consume it, and how they feel about things. I’m in the middle of a project right now, where I have like a list of 400 different words describing emotions, because I want to see how people feel when they talk about things. The next step is distribution, which is how do we how do you publish content in social channels with the most effective ways to do so after that is activation? How do you get people to pay attention to what you’ve published through paid through influencers through outreach through public relations, getting people to take your content? And as Mark Schaefer says, ignite it accelerated, get it out in market? And finally, how do you measure your efforts to know that what you’re doing is working, but also how ladders up to the overall business objectives and strategy is that going right back to that that first objective, which is how business works, you may be creating a great amount of wonderful content that’s getting terrific engagement and lots of positive reputation. But if you can’t provide any kind of connection to a business outcome, it’s gonna be a rough ride for you in a little while. So for college students, for new professionals and social media for folks who maybe are transitioning from another part of marketing into into social that’s what you got to do to be effective and there to cats question there is no one number one thing there’s a whole bunch of things that you need to know in order to be effective in social media or in marketing or in business in general. And, and it’s it’s that long list of stuff. So
good question. Interesting question. Because we’re look in a lot of cases people are looking for a very quick answer. Oh, you should just learn Facebook Well,
that’s true if now but YouTube is technically bigger than Facebook and it’s a video to are you should just learn YouTube, well Instagrams got a billion daily or billion monthly viewers now and so. But the way people behave on a completely different
there is no easy answer. There never is, if it’s worth doing. There’s never an easy answer for it. So take that into account as well. When you’re asking for advice when you’re giving advice. It’s not going to be easy to make this stuff work well. It’s going to take time and study and practice to make it work effectively for your business and for your career. Great question. As always, if you have additional questions, please ask subscribe to the YouTube channel a newsletter and I’ll talk to you soon. Take care
if you want help with your company’s data and analytics. Visit brain trust insights calm today and let us know how we can help you.
Want to read more like this from Christopher Penn? Get updates here:
Get your copy of Marketing Blue Belt!