When I first started out freelancing I organised coffees with some of my friends who I knew worked in the kind of industries and sectors I was interested in. I felt a bit nervous and thought that just having a chat with some people I already knew about something work-related would be a good place to start.
And it was. I met up with a friend of mine who is a CTO. He was really encouraging, stating ‘I’m really glad you are doing this, you’re good at it and we need more people like you.’ I was, understandably, grateful and very pleased to be starting out like this.
My friend got back in touch within a few weeks of our coffee. Would I like to do a proposal for him for a local community initiative that he was working on. There might be some work in it, nothing big, but the chance to write the proposal would be a good opportunity.
I was happy to do it. I saw it as a chance to show him what I could do, as well as the chance to pitch for potential work so I put something together.
When we had a follow up chat, I asked how things were going. Yes, the proposal was great, everyone liked it and agreed with the content. And one person had made the comment that makes up the title of this blog – ‘Why do we need someone to do social media? Isn’t it just all common sense?’
It’s a good point. In fact it’s such a good point that still, 2 and a bit years on from receiving this feedback, I think about it every time I write a proposal, or content, pitch for work or post for clients.
I welcomed this feedback at the time and I welcome it every time I think about it. It focuses me to think about what my skills are and what value I add to my clients.
When this feedback was given my friend qualified it straight away. ‘You and I know the value of this work but you know what people can be like.’
Yes, I do. But I’m more than happy for people to question what I do, to be curious and ask. OK, it’s not always said in a nice way but I’m a pretty positive person. I’m good at answering questions for people and deflecting their bluntness to chat about what they really want to know.
And I’m happy to chat about what I do. The power of social media is an awesome thing and I could geek out on it for hours on end. (Sidebar: if you want to get in touch and discuss your social media, please do! Always happy to chat, virtually or in person. 🙂 )
Yes, a lot of social media is common sense. It is a skill that can be learnt. In the same way that doing your accounts is just maths. It is just maths. That doesn’t take anything away from accountants, who understand this ‘maths’ on a grand scale for small and large businesses. In the same way, as a social media professional, I have the skills to show you how you can reach your goals with social media.
Some of my clients want to learn how to do social media themselves, they are looking for tips and tricks. Others have heard that they ‘should’ be doing social and want to know more about what that means. Resourcing for small business, which I specialise in, is an issue and having someone who can take care of another thing that’s looming on your to do list is valuable.
I was reminded of this last week when I was doing a tiny victory dance as one of my clients ranked onto page 1 of Google for their chosen keywords. Last year, before I started working for them, they were sold multiple keyword URLs. They were told this is what would get them ranking on Google and they did nothing.
There is a lot of noise in the digital content, SEO, social media arena for small businesses. Some companies do make their money from small businesses by using words that don’t mean much and selling ‘must haves’ for things they could do easily and cheaply themselves online. I’m often working with clients on just untangling all the ‘advice’ (sales!) they’ve been offered to show them what it all really is so they can make a decision about whether it adds value for them.
If you are looking to do social media for your business then I think there are many things to take away from this. Yes, it is a skill you can learn. It might be a skill you want to outsource. Don’t be blinded by someone telling you what you ‘need’, if you really do need it they should be able to explain exactly why to you in a way you understand.
And question. Ask where the value is. Everyone I know, who is doing great work, is more than happy to tell you. I would be more worried if I couldn’t answer this question, not whether you’ve asked it.