Educational needs of Social Media

This post was inspired by a question in LinkedIn earlier today.

What are the educational needs of Social Media Marketing?

1) Social Media MARKETING is only one aspect of social media. That said – it is probably the biggest opportunity for marketing leaders to have more saying in a corporate strategy if they understand and appreciate the complexity of a social business.IN every successful business somebody leads the charge of whatever needs to be done. Why not the marketing group. There are several reasons why marketing may lead a cross functional social business initiative, but I’ve also seen other departments to do that including finance.

2) A social business is an organization that leverages the ongoing changes in our hyper connected society in all aspects of their organization, including product management, service & support, sales, marketing, logistics, procurement and more. Often times when I mention logistics or procurement in the context of social media I see lots of question marks and hear people saying “isn’t that too far fetched?”Well there are examples and I was involved myself in some where the supply chain was the starting point for a social media engagement – in financially very rewarding.

3) Business people will want to learn how to practically apply social media and create a social business. While some will be OK to explore, experiment and trying to figure it out themselves, others may want to not spend the time but learn best practices, methods, models and frameworks and just execute.As we all know, there are two types of learners: The autodidact who tryes everything themselves. That is a great way of learning and allows to make mistakes in a rather conscious manner. Typically these are early adopters. So the ones who started in social media in 2003, like me, had to learn things on their own. Then there are the ones who rather acquire knowledge in a very compact way, circumvent obvious mistakes and go apply the knowledge. Mostly in times where the market is advanced and making mistakes is no longer acceptable. That’s why the Social Media Academy exists.

4) Therefor the educational needs are to learn and understand the following aspects of social media:
– What is it and what is it good for
– Learn all about the implications of social media to business
– Where and how to start
– Ability to assess the situation of a company and all their respective market constituencies
– Transform the assessment into a strategy
– Create a strategy with and for the market
– Knowing what organizational needs to consider
– Develop an execution plan
– Resources, budgets, financial implication
– Aligning the new strategy with core business objectives
– Ability to formulate goals and targets – measure model and tune
Learning how to tweet and how to brush up a LinkedIn profile or selecting the right tools are only tactical aspects after the core strategy is defined answering the question: What can I do to create a better, more successful business experience for my prospects, customers, partners, vendors, employees and other relevant market constituencies.
As such it is an obvious coincidence that the Social Media Academy leadership class has exactly that at the core of its class.


4 Replies to “Educational needs of Social Media”

  1. Thanks for this Axel. Very interesting distinction: people coming on the scene now cannot expect people to be as tolerant of their getting it wrong as they may have been for us early experimenters.

    On the “social media = marketing” perception, is it because – as it seems – so many of the early adopters and now pundits come from marketing and PR that the emphasis in “how social media works” is weighted that way? “To a hammer, everything looks like a nail” kind of thing.

    There is also the consideration that, again as it seems to me, so many of the books and blog posts are about social media beyond the firewall and thus concerned a lot with marketing, pr, the “where the rubber hits the road” end of the sales process, whereas so many interesting things are happening behind the enterprise firewall. No doubt there are constraints on employees, consultants, service providers and others wanting to talk or write about those activities publicly, except maybe in the more sheltered environments of professional conferences.

    Early last year I had an insight into how powerful social media can be for broader organizational purposes and in terms of “whole of enterprise” needs, when I interviewed Chris Lampard from Corporate Express. The company had gone through an extensive acquisition phase – 70 different mergers/acquisitions over 15 years, and had some 2,500 employees in Australia and New Zealand, in 45 different locations. Imagine the complexities of different systems, different cultures! In an interview Chris told me they were having great success with a SAP solution, providing chat rooms, collaboration tools and wikis. (Interview is on my site, March 09.)

    It ain’t all about, as someone said to me the other day, the bird and the book.

  2. I’d like to thank each of you for your responses. I am a current student, and posted this question on originally because there seems to be little understanding and even less desire to know about this venue. Ergo, I am having to learn what I can through the thoughts of others that are professionally involved. I will say that while there are skeptics, the majority have stated positive thoughts. I am currently taking a class in Media Technologies, and as part of that class I’m doing a semester long project on the subject. Much of my research is coming from statements of sources such as yourselves. Therefore, allow me again to proclaim my appreciation for your participation.

    Gregory Stringer

  3. Hello, it’s me again. I was wondering if I might have permission to guest host this posting on my blog page. You made such wonderful points, and I’d like to share them if I may.

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