Learning the ropes of social media? Pick an encouraging instructor


Mary Fletcher Jones enjoys teaching people how to use social media

Having helped more than a dozen individuals learn how to use social media for business purposes, I mused this morning about what makes for a positive learning experience.  After all, social media is not very easy to learn how to use.  It’s complex, and not often intuitive.  There are the inevitable platform changes every few months. There are things about social media that just seem plain silly, sometimes, or hard to justify.  And how you use it all depends on the audience and situation.  But there is no set agreement on how to use it, so best practices can be hard to come by.

So I was especially happy to receive my 27th LinkedIn recommendation yesterday after having worked with client Sandra Remey of Remey Communications on her company’s new Facebook Page and Twitter Profile.

“Mary is a true expert on social media and was a valuable counselor to me and my firm in setting up a social media presence. She walked me through the various nuances and really laid the groundwork in a strategic and valuable way. Thank you Mary!” Sandra Remey, president, Remey Communications, LLC

I’m not sure if I have a special knack for teaching social media, although from these testimonials, you would think maybe I do.  I believe part of the reason why these learning experiences are positive is that since I have a child with autism, I am used to patiently breaking down instructions.  From teaching him, I have discovered that most people learn best with a combination of visual, auditory, and hands-on approaches.  There’s a lot of content to cover, so breaks and humor help.  Also, you cannot beat the impact of individualized, one-on-one instruction that proceeds at the learner’s pace. That is not something you will get in a group workshop!

However, the most important thing any instructor or coach can offer is an encouraging attitude.  At least, that is true for me, personally.  When I reflect on my own learning experiences — ballet, French, driving — having an encouraging instructor made all the difference for me.  Instruction has elements of correction, but I think it is positive and cheerful encouragement that gives the learner the boost of confidence he or she needs to attempt the next step, and make progress.

If you are just learning how to use social media, I encourage you to practice often and be patient with yourself as you learn the ropes.  It’s not the easiest thing in the world to learn, but if you have the confidence that you will master it, you will!


About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a public relations and marketing consultant, and owns Fletcher Prince (www.FletcherPrince.com). Follow Mary on Twitter @FletcherPrince.

Posted on April 12, 2011, in small business marketing tips, Social Media Tips and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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