5 Things I Learned from Teaching a Social Media Class

{Photo credit: Chris Heiler}

I recently finished teaching a 3-part class on Social Media Marketing Best Practices at the University of Wisconsin. The students were a mix of the young and the old, social media newbies and semi-regular social media users. Here’s what I learned from their questions, my lecture, and the struggles we overcame together.

1. There is no right answer.
My students’ main concerns were “Which social media sites should I focus on?” and “How do you know which sites will still be around a year from now?” The answer is that I don’t. It’s all a crapshoot. But judging by the statistics, Facebook is not a fad. And the content marketing strategies we’ve learned from social media campaigns will continue to permeate our lives forever. So you might as well get used to this new platform now.

2. We’re all in this together.
Social media websites change every day. Even I, who uses them every day, can learn things from someone who’s a newbie. I helped one older man sign up for Facebook, then two minutes later he schooled me on a quicker way to create a page. (Him: “Why can’t you just click the ‘Create a Page’ button right here?” Me: “Where? What?! I guess that works, too. Thanks!”)

3. You’re just scared. Get over it!
Getting some of my students to create a Facebook page was like pulling teeth. Some just wanted to watch first, and then others created a page but were too scared to do anything to it. They’d take notes, but then not put any of the notes into action. You’ve got nothing to lose! Just because it’s on the Internet, doesn’t mean that everyone will see it. If you have no followers and you haven’t shared the link with anyone, you’re hiding in an invisible corner of the Internet. Don’t worry — no one is watching you! Just give it a shot!

4. No one is too old for anything.
I applaud the number of students in my class who were really diving headfirst into unknown waters. Some of them weren’t even great at typing, or using a computer, but they knew the importance of social media and wanted to become an expert at it. Dream big, people! And don’t let age hold you back from trying!

5. Everyone is creative.
The same people who had never signed up for Facebook and weren’t computer savvy had EXCELLENT ideas for social media campaigns. One author wanted to record himself reading his children’s books, post it on YouTube, and share it on his Facebook page. That’s a complicated, creative, and awesome idea for someone who just signed up for Facebook two minutes ago. See? There’s really nothing scary about social media — it just takes a little creativity and hard work!

Aubre Andrus is a freelance writer in Chicago who specializes in copywriting, blogging, reporting, and social media consulting. View her website and portfolio at www.aubreandrus.com or find her on Twitter @aubreandrus.