Do you want a social media marketing qualification?
Today, as a digital marketing professional one of the questions that you might be asked, just like I have been asked recently during a job interview is what sort of qualifications do you have in social media marketing? Though it sounds like a simple question to answer to someone not working in the social media marketing industry the answer to such a simple question almost always requires a more detailed explanation and more self-control to keep that what-did-you-just-ask-me look off your face.
“No” – I don’t have a social media marketing qualification (simple answer either way, is it not?). But then again – With the ever fast changing environment of the various social media platforms not even to mention the fast and constantly smarter evolution of search engine’s and their various algorithm updates – who with some sort of recent social media marketing qualification (especially in South Africa) has learned about using hash tags and the consequences it has for a business and brand on a common and daily used platform like Facebook by means of their qualification? Let me tell you now… No one!
What will using this brand new feature have in stall for your business and brand online in the social media platforms and even search engines in the coming months and years to come? No one really knows yet – But there seems to be a lot of confident marketers out there that ends up damaging brands and business’ by either not using – or over excessively using new and certain features and not truly trying to understand for an example the phenomena that is widely talked about and commonly known as Facebook’s edgerank. And most of the time they tend to lose focus on pretty much all the other aspects of digital marketing and only tend to focus on the social media marketing aspects. Social media marketing should be used in conjunction with other digital and traditional marketing campaigns in order to achieve the maximum amount of exposure and possible engagement out of your overall marketing campaign and business strategy.
Marketing should best be done socially, not just social media marketing, but all marketing – digital and traditional alike should entice the social aspect of human nature in one way or form of another.
So what is a social media marketing qualification worth?
Hmmm… By whom is such a qualification governed and approved? It most certainly is not Twitter, Facebook or almost any of the other more well-known social media platforms, so who knows the relevancy, accuracy and freshness of what you are being taught, especially when it comes to all the different types of businesses and their target markets. And how regular is such a qualification’s curriculum updated? Not regular enough (unless it is on almost a daily base which I can assure you it is not)!
There are fundamentals and certain methods of marketing that should be kept in mind, and can be quite useful when building a business and brand socially online. But these fundamentals and methods can be learned in most traditional marketing degrees offered across the globe at various institutions. With social media platforms changing so fast and the way your online activity will influence and change the way you’ll reach your target market changes just as fast, makes it hard to stay up to date with. And thus cannot be learned at a school or an over-distance education institution, not even with your well know platforms like Twitter and Facebook, much less the new and upcoming platforms that might be more target driven unlike some of the social platforms being used today.
What would you choose if investing your own money?
Marketing a business online socially today requires an agile, flexible and creative strategy, and you most certainly don’t want it to become an expensive way for your business to throw money, time and a lot of effort in the water all because it was not strategized correctly, managed effectively, and the campaigns not planned and implemented in a proactive, agile and timely way. Most of these qualities you’ll learn the hard way and that is through experience, dedication and hard work.
So if it was up to you and you had to invest in and hire someone to start putting the kick behind your business and brand online that it has always needed and that you as a business owner or marketer along with your customers has always looked for – but did not know how to find – would you have trusted a qualification more than the qualification of experience? And are you willing to comfortably stake your and that of your brand and business’ reputation on the line when it comes to your decision?