Question. I am currently reading your Social Media Marketing Workbook and I am loving it. I plan on moving on to more of your books as soon as I am finished. My questions is, is it still possible to become a social media consultant (a competitor technically but I’m on the east coast haha) or is the market too saturated? I have always been a user of all social media’s and now I’m spending as much time as possible while on summer away from college to learn the business. Thanks!
Answer. Here’s how I think about this. First and foremost, social media marketing is part of marketing and, as such, it will never “die” or “go out of fashion.” People will always be selling goods and services to other people, and in order to do that, they’ll be engaging in marketing – building a positive brand identity around a company, product, and/or service that encourages sales (That’s my definition of marketing). The Internet hasn’t “invented” marketing, after all. It’s just that a huge chunk of marketing has shifted online. So marketing is now 80% “online marketing” for most companies and 20% other stuff, such as trades how or (gasp) print advertising. So, if you’re “into” marketing then you “must” learn social media marketing (as well as SEO, and advertising such as Google AdWords or how to advertise on Facebook, Snapchat, or whatever). So it’s a key marketing skill, that every marketer MUST master if they’re going to be serious.
Second, we live in an INCREDIBLY exciting and wonderful time for marketing. Can you imagine suffering thru the 1970s? Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck! I mean, all they had was boring things like the Yellow Pages, trade shows, or print advertising! We have this new and emerging cornucopia of tools, from Snapchat to SEO, from LinkedIn to Pinterest, from email marketing to app marketing. It changes ALL THE TIME and it’s still in the REVOLUTION phase, meaning it has not yet calmed down. So anyone who says that they’re an “expert” in social media marketing “as if” it’s stable, is crazy or delusional. I know a lot about it – but I am ALWAYS ALWAYS learning. So this is great news for you and anyone who wants “in” – it’s emerging, growing, changing. It’s like America in 1777 or France in 1793 – the revolution has really just started, so don’t be intimidated. DIVE IN AND START LEARNING.
Third, because of #2 above, it’s very much learn by doing. There are a few classes and schools teaching it, but they’re just beginning and (to be honest), the academics in the major (and minor) universities that claim to “teach” SEO / Internet Marketing / Social Media Marketing aren’t very good. Academics make their careers by publishing super boring, arcane stuff in super, arcane, boring marketing journals, and 99% of them know next to nothing. As Woody Allen said, those who can’t do, teach. And those who can’t teach, teach marketing. (He said gym, but I’d say marketing). I’m being overly harsh, but it’s very much “learn by doing” – so this implies those of us who dive into the pool, and start “doing” will know far, far more than the timid or those who wait for formal training. “Fortune favors the brave,” so BE BRAVE. Just do it!
Fourth, hang out your shingle. Find a company to sponsor (if you’re unemployed), or a non-profit. Start DOING it for them, and build up a) your experience, and b) your resume. If you’re lucky enough to get a job in social media marketing, GREAT. If not, use the “gig” economy to get started, and don’t be afraid (or ashamed) to find your favorite non-profit cause and adopt one. I’m partial to LAB RESCUES, so find a LAB RESCUE organization, help save some puppies and you (and the puppies) will be the better for it. Then use the skills learned to land a “real” job working for a for profit. It’s about doing, doing, doing!
Finally, read EVERYTHING you can. Learn EVERYTHING you can. Read my books, take my classes. But don’t take my word for it as the “Gospel.” Read the books of others, take the classes of others. Monitor the key blogs such as Social Media Examiner, and if possible, go to their fabulous conference, Social Media Marketing World in San Diego. Go to Amazon, and monitor new books on social media marketing, Twitter marketing, Facebook marketing, etc., and set aside time to read these books and learn. Books are a great way to learn this “new type” of marketing, so read EVERYTHING. Never stop learning! Never stop being a critical reader! Take what others have said, be critical, learn from it, but build your own “method.”
So, in summary, it’s a great time to begin social media marketing. Don’t let anyone intimidate you. It’s 1777 in America and it’s a New World. Jump in, have fun, and tell your grandkids about what it was like to live when the Revolution was new!
Got a question? Click this link to email Jason or call 888-993-1122. Dr. Jason McDonald is founder and Senior SEO / Social Media Director of the JM Internet Group. He teaches the SEO training classes for the group, and therefore provides most of the SEO tips for this blog. His goal with this blog is to provide an easy 'one-stop shop' for the busy marketer looking for tips, tricks, and secrets on how to get to the top of Google and Bing for free using proven SEO tactics. When not dreaming up SEO tips, Dr. McDonald lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, two dogs, a cat, four iguanas and twelve children (just kidding). Really you read down to the bio on this guy? Enjoy the blog.
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