By Josh Lawson | @JoshKLawson
Social media can be a hard concept to grasp. Most people say you need to be a master in something before you try to teach it to others. That way you can reword difficult concepts to students who don’t understand it. The medium of social media is constantly evolving and expanding. It’s often used in higher education to offer social CRM, but for students. It humanizes professors and can give a sense of ownership on the content we create.
The fact that social media is changing means that whoever teaches it needs to evolve with it. The platforms will change, but the basics will always stay the same, but that doesn’t mean it still isn’t a time-consuming industry. You constantly have monitor several different account and hashtags, learn everything that changes with each update, and experiment with new features that each platform offers.
Many students, faculty, and sometimes even professionals have no idea how to use any aspect of social media. This means there is a huge disconnect between the brand and the consumers. The most successful accounts on social media platforms are those who show the most personality in their content, have a social CRM strategy, and act like an actual person instead of a computer generating lackluster content.
Someone who teaches social media needs to have an excellent grasp on every concept surrounding the different platforms, rather than just the numbers and analytic data about them. Yes, that information helps, but not as much as hearing what it’s actually like to work in the industry using those tools and those platforms.
The information learned from someone who has professionally worked in the social media industry is invaluable. Those skills cannot be learned anywhere else. There is something completely different about learning vicariously from someone’s experience than learning from a PowerPoints and TEDtalks without trying to explain those any further.
The skills learned with social media are based in customer service, public relations, journalism, and ethics. We learn these skills leading up to this course, or at least some of those skills. We don’t need to be learning the data and statistics for these platforms, but rather we need to be learning how to use social media in the real world.