On the Job experience. That’s often the starting point for many a successful career. It’s an ethos that has come back into vogue over recent years with Work Inspiration (for 14-17 year olds), Internships/Placements for Students and Apprenticeships instead of Uni. It’s all about the learning. In the working environment. Especially the apprenticeships route, learn while you earn is the phrase. Where you’re working for real, not just attending lectures with the odd practical thrown in for good measure.
Social media is exactly the same. You learn far more in the doing. It’s great to hear the case studies but at the end of the day they’re just overviews. No matter how detailed they might be. If you’re looking to community manage, or get involved in, social platforms and talent communities, the only way is to get your hands dirty.
You’ll soon see that the ‘rules’ that float around aren’t always the good advice that they seem. You know the ones. About timings. Scheduling (or not). Tweet 100 characters or less. Where to position a link in your update. Not flooding your account with job posts. Who you should or shouldn’t follow. What gets Likes. Update an average 4 times a day. More than 2 #Hashtags affects engagement.
Honestly, with all the accounts we’ve managed and been involved with over the years, every one of the ‘rules’ above (and more) have been blown away on different accounts and different audiences. That’s the key – the audience ‘tells’ you what they want. And as every business is unique, even in the same sector, what applies to one doesn’t mean it will work for another. One approach that’s successful for one facebook page, will fail on another. That’s what experience will tell you. That’s what your audiences will show you. You never hear failure admitted very often, if at all, in a conference case study. You wouldn’t expect to. (Although a #FAILconf, is an interesting idea…hmm.) It’s always success stories. That’s what everyone wants to hear. But the odd fail (or disappointment/surprise) is often much more enlightening. And the spur to keep looking at things differently.