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Social Media Professionals – Who’s Training You?

Posted on May 30th, 2012

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While speaking at a tech forum this week (for the Publishing Industry), I became involved in a fascinating debate over self-education for tech professionals. The conversation started with how to find qualified staff with a specific set of digital skills, but expanded into a broader one of the role of the individual to keep up-skilling in today’s fast moving digital space.

There seemed to be a concensus that traditional education providers (Schools, Universities, TAFEs etc) are not preparing graduates adequately for the roles they are likely to fill – predominantly because the technology is moving so quickly that the curriculum and trainers are not keeping up.

My specific area of Social Media Marketing, did not exist when I went to University, nor in fact did Facebook (shock horror I know)! So is it realistic to expect a Marketing Graduate to come out of Univeristy ready to maximise social media for my clients? Is it my role to train them? Or is it their role to seek cutting edge, industry specific training, independent of their ‘formal’ qualification?

This is where the debate really started, in regards to where the responsibility lies for getting adequate training and keeping up with the ever changing demands/skills required in digital industry roles.

I personally spend nearly a third of my time in professional development – in keeping abreast of new trends and testing/training in new tools and techniques. Social Media moves so quickly that yesterday’s trend is today’s must have (or in some cases must not have!). I have done 67 hours of self instigated (and self funded) training in the last fortnight. For instance, with the roll out of Facebook’s new advertising platform, features and ad types, there is so much to learn that next month I’m attending an online conference with 22 seminars just on this single topic alone!



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But as a business owner is it your role to be providing access to training for staff to be continually updating their skills? Or does the responsibility lie with the individual? If you employ staff/contractors because they have a particular skill set, do you expect them to be continually updating this set of skills?

I have been guest lecturer at TAFE colleges on social media when the trainers have realised that their students needed, not only the latest content, but real World examples and implementation of the skills. While I applaud these Lecturers, and am delighted to participate, I question whether it is even realistic to expect any formal educational course to keep pace with technological advances.

I view Degree/Diploma/Certificate qualifications as more of the theory behind a subject – or the “Why To”. In University I spent much time in case studies and ‘history’ if you like of my industry issues. But very little time in the “How To” in terms of what was happening right now and how to action my theory.

Knowledge is needed (and not to be under valued) but it is in the implementation of this knowledge that true skills are built. I can go to a seminar, read a book and even listen to an audio on social media marketing and learn a lot. But it’s not until I open the computer and actually put the knowledge into action that I realise how much I still need to learn.

You see we don’t know what we don’t know. The only way to discover this is to “DO” something – or often in my case, attempt to do something.

When I attend trainings that are based on implementation, I not only absorb more of the knowledge but I discover so much I either didn’t know or didn’t know how to do so efficiently. In the process I make my self not only more ‘employable’ but more ‘valuable’. If I ‘know my stuff’ and can get the best results for my clients, then they are happy to engage me more regularly and, quite often, I can command a higher price. You see I don’t just know how to solve their problems – I do it!

So, back to the subject of this post, when it comes to Social Media Professionals, “who’s training you?” If you are an independent consultant/contractor then I expect you know you need to seek out, and pay for, training yourself (as I do). If you are a Social Media or Marketing professional in an organisation, company or department though do you expect your employer to find and fund this training for you? Are you seeking professional development and training opportunities? If you are employing social media professionals do you see the value in investing in ongoing training for them and are you willing to invest in them in terms of money and work time being set aside to attend training courses?

For all Social Media Professionals – where can you access cutting edge, advanced training in Social Media Marketing in Australia? Even when you have the time and cost factors worked out, actually finding up to date, relevant quality training for Social Media Marketing professionals is almost impossible! I know I’ve tried.

Most ‘marketing’ workshops are thinly veiled (at best) sales pitches – pushing us to use a company’s services and/or software packages, apps or latest statistical analysis program. Often generic information is shared to cover the vast array of knowledge levels in the room meaning the more experienced attendees walk out with little or no additional knowledge.

So where do Social Media Professionals find training and mentors? Most of us travel overseas and/or attend online trainings. In the past 9 years I have attended trainings/seminars in New York, Singapore, Bangkok, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Hong Kong, Miami, Boston and the Caribbean – to name a few. Mark and I have also trained (and spoken) at conferences throughout Australia and New Zealand – from Cairns to Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Auckland, Christchurch, Melbourne, Hobart, Perth and many places in between (Port Douglas being my favourite). Additionally I have invested countless thousands of hours (and dollars) in online summits, forums, webinars, seminars, courses and memberships. Would I suggest you do the same? Probably not.

The majority of you reading this post are not Social Media Specialists teaching others social media trainers. Rather you are Social Media Managers, marketing professionals and/or business owners looking to learn how to maximise social media to grow either your business or your client’s businesses. I encourage you to be continually learning and updating, yourself and your staff, in the latest digital skills. But, unlike when I started, there are now fantastic courses available to you both online and in person, that allow you to implement as you learn.

I highly recommend the training provided by The Creative Collective online and throughout Australia, especially the social media training by yours truly ;-) Some free trainings, some paid trainings – but all high quality, implementation based. You can get full details on their training at:
http://www.TheCreativecollective.com.au/Events

If you are just getting started in digital marketing, or need to update your digital marketing skills, then I specifically recommend the ‘Get Up To Speed’ program. It’s a 12 week structured, inclusive digital marketing training program delivered totally online with a members area and secret Facebook members support group. Funded by SkillsQueensland and brought together by the Broadband Today Alliance, I’m delighted to be delivering the Social Media portion of the training. At $250 for 12 weeks training and mentoring support – it’s an absolute bargain!

BUT, what about if you are a Social Media Professional – Who’s Training You????


Up until now I would have suggested you follow my lead and train around the World and around the clock (man I hate those 3am calls to USA!). In fact, I’ve been asked by so many of my colleagues where to get advanced social media marketing training for professionals, that I have set up my own!

I’m super excited to share that my private, invite only ‘Social Media Bootcamp’ is expanding and, I now announce the launch of:
“Social Media Professionals Ultimate Training”

This is a 2 day training (Friday and Saturday) in Brisbane with ‘hands on laptop’ implementation of advanced social media marketing techniques, tactics and tools. I will be sharing with (and showing) you exactly what I do to promote my own,and my client’s, businesses with Social Media. Worth more than the cost of admission alone will be the networking with like minded social media professionals and small group brainstorming sessions.

Full details of what to expect at the “Social Media for Professionals Ultimate Training” are on the booking page here.

Whether you are paying your own way or have an employer that sees the value in you up-sklling is a conversation I’ll leave you to have. Regardless, you will get value for your investment and I promise you will emerge with tangible results from 2 days of emersion and “DO-ing” not just training.


Oh, but book quickly because, to ensure you get the best results, the course is limited to 15 people (yes definitely)! With an Early Bird 2for1 offer – I expect the course to fill fast. Any questions drop me an email to Support@SocialMediaShortcut.com or connect on our facebook page (of course) at: www.Facebook.com/SocialMediaShortCut

Curious to hear your thoughts on what training you find value in and whether you think it’s the responsibility of the individual or the employing business to identify and pay for the training? Leave your thoughts below or on our social networks and, as always feel free to share this post far and wide.

Must go, I have an e-Lesson to write and a webinar to attend….. learning, learning, learning!