co-authored by Theodora Kimmel
Expertise is typically defined as the knowledge gained through many years of experience and accomplishment. Someone with say, 25 years of experience or more, might be someone we would call an “expert.” With Social Media, however, defining business-expertise, and identifying a Social Media expert, is something altogether different.
This is in part because Social Media platforms are still in their infancy when it comes to how they can be used for businesses. In fact, Facebook just turned 10 years old this year, “puberty,” as Bloomberg Businessweek called it. That means that few individuals, if any, can claim true traditional expertise in this area.
Furthermore, so much wedding industry content is already available for use on Social Media channels. There is plenty to be repurposed, expanded upon, or shaped as part of your business. Because of this, it does not necessarily take a wedding business expert to successfully grow an audience through Social Media.
In truth, defining Social Media expertise also has a lot of it has to do with the nature of Social Media itself. The word “social” implies real interactions that actually impact people. Using Social Media to successfully develop your business requires weaving this social element into whatever you do. That means Social Media business strategies and practices are as much, if not more, an art form as they are a science. Success can be measured through scientific methods like analytics. Generating success, however, is a kind of artistry. Attracting and maintaining an audience requires creativity in every sense of the word. Whether it is through thoughtful and entertaining content, or a flare for identifying or creating captivating imagery, Social Media is an art.
Moreover, targeting both the right amount, and kind, of Social Media to benefit your wedding business, has its requirements. Time must be taken to properly nourish your Social Media endeavors. To compare it to farming for instance, it is like a soil that needs to be tilled on a consistent basis. You must be attentive to make the most of your business’s perception. You must also be attentive if you want to take advantage of new Internet Search Engine algorithms like Google’s rank-determining factors and its relevance to Facebook “likes,” for example.
If you can afford to hire a Social Media Firm that is industry-focused, you should do so. You can find some in our Wedding Industry Resource Directory. An industry-focused business will always have its benefits when it comes to ensuring that your company flourishes on your Social Media channels.
These are not the only people with the ability to successfully navigate Social Media, however, and expand a business this way. Another viable option for finding your expert is to reach out to the young people who never knew a world without Social Media. Because of this, many have something powerful to offer the wedding industry in this respect. Growing up with Social Media at the core of their existence, they have an innate understanding of its use.
Like I myself have done, approaching your local high school or college, and/or getting on Internships.com, and creating an internship, can allow you to harness this innate Social Media skill-set of our young people. What I have also found equally compelling about this approach is the opportunity the wedding industry can offer to our youth in terms of their professional development.
Students need real word experience when it comes to honing professional skills, developing their resumes, and in some cases, to earn college credit. By offering them internship opportunities, you can have a major impact on these students. With your mentorship in the professional landscape, you can teach them business skills they would never learn in a classroom. Above all, you can embrace the opportunity to make a difference in a student’s life.
The benefits of this approach, as I have discovered, do not end there. The time they spend with you during the internship may result in their becoming someone you can co-opt as an experienced member of your team. Since these interns are “homegrown,” they may become more valuable to you than an outside company or professional. You have given them the opportunity to cultivate their natural Social Media skills in a business environment. In turn, they may end up with a rich understanding of how to best use Social Media for your business. It’s kind of like the best of both worlds.
If you adopt this mentality about internships, the question of how to best compensate has an easy answer. While the experience in and of itself is very rewarding for these students, and payment not always necessary, offering a monthly stipend (especially if the student is not earning college credit) can be a very fair and mutually beneficial approach. It is important to offer a tangible reward of some kind for the time these students dedicate to your business, and to choosing to intern with your business in the first place.
Defining expertise when it comes to Social Media may be different than what we traditionally understand expertise to mean. There is, however, a wealth of opportunity for your business because of this. It can truly be the younger generation that holds the answer to who the Social Media experts are.
Image Courtesy of: Education Insider Blog- “Social Media Etiquette For College”