This post was originally published on BlogHer on March 19, 2015
I’ve been asked if it was worth getting my social media degree. On one hand, in four short years, most things I learned aren’t applicable today. The social media landscape changes too quickly. But there are overarching lessons that inform how I approach my blog or other social media accounts.
Here are 6 lessons I still use daily when it comes to social media.
Social Media is Always Changing
It moves fast. It changes even faster. What was trending one day as the latest marketing tool, won’t be around the next day. Which means, there is always something new to discover and always something new to learn.
My degree may be four years old and I may have graduated, but I haven’t stopped learning the ins and outs of what’s new in the social media marketing world. Knowing that helps me keep perspective.
You Have the Freedom to Try New Things
No, my degree didn’t give me the freedom to try skydiving (wouldn’t that make for an incredible Instagram post…), but it did provide me with a new outlet to think outside the box. Traditional marketing is all about advertisements, commercials, and so on, all of which are expensive.
Social media allows users to see what works for their companies without spending a lot of marketing dollars. The possibilities with social media marketing are endless. What works for one brand, may not work another. And that’s okay. Trial and error is the name of the game in social media until you find something that works.
It keeps me creative in the workplace.
Connect With Like-Minded People
Believe it or not, there are people out there that don’t care to talk about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on all day. They don’t care about the latest trends, and they don’t care about what new marketing scheme you came up with.
By connecting with others who love social media marketing the way you do, it provides you with a group of people who can be a sounding board for ideas. And that same group of people may also be the group who provides you with ideas you hadn’t even thought of.
Knowing how important it is to find your “tribe” workwise also translates into my daily blogging approach.
Knowledge Makes You an “Expert”
I put that loosely only because it seems like you could throw a rock and hit at least 15experts in social media marketing. Sometimes they are people who have learned much of what they know on their own, by reading, experimenting and the like. Other times, they learned about social media in the classroom.
Does one or the other make you any more of an expert? No. What makes you an expert is gathering the knowledge that will help you market your brand properly on social media.
Someday, that social media degree will be just as common as an English degree. So, yes, a social media degree is useful because it sets you apart as an expert in the field. That is, as long as you keep learning.
Everyone Needs to Work for Followers
As much as I had hoped graduating with a social media degree would mean that I would suddenly have thousands of people who would listen to me on Twitter, it didn’t happen, nor will it happen. But what I did discover were the proper tools and etiquette for building a following.
Thank those who do follow you and follow back. Share their work. Repost their pictures. It takes time and effort, but you will see you social media grow. And the hard work will pay off.
Social Media Is Sticking Around
If the growth of some the platforms out there like Instagram and Twitter are any indication about the direction social media is going, I think it’s safe to say that social media is a pretty solid focus for both undergraduate and graduate programs. It’s a growing field, and as the years go on, the need for social media experts will only increase.
My degree is so much more to me than learning the ins and outs of Facebook. If you love social media, and find yourself on it 24/7, and are interested in analytics, tools, and everything else that goes into marketing, this may be the degree for you.
My classes in social media were, by far, the hardest classes I took. But because I was interested in social media marketing, I loved them and excelled in them. And if you feel as strongly about social media marketing as I do, then you should definitely pursue it!