How To Learn Social Media Like A Boss

A list of helpful tips, courses, books, tools, websites, and blogs.

The best way to learn and become an expert about anything related to Social Media involves getting your hands dirty.

For example: If you want to learn about Facebook advertising, you won’t know how to do it right until you run a campaign, try various ad formats, targeting options and audiences. Resources can provide you the framework, but experience is what you will need to fill them in.

So when starting, it is always advisable to go out in the open and really try stuff. Maybe a friend of yours needs help with social media? Volunteer. The experience will be worth it. Moreover, you will learn a lot in the process of setting up a strategy.

Doing the work does the work in most cases. Actually, that’s true for anything really.

If you want to learn by doing, and if you can’t find a friend who needs help here are some quick tips to get started:

  • Sign up for a freelancing website (Freelancer or Upwork) — whichever suits your needs.
  • Build up your profile, and start sending proposals to people who are looking for help in social media marketing. You have to realize that most of the work isn’t too complicated. So take up the easy ones and learn along the way.
    You will find your first gig to be difficult and full obstacles. Don’t fret.
  • Keep trying and experimenting. For everything you don’t know, there’s internet to help you out. Post your question on Quora, Reddit, Growth Hackers and get experts to answer your questions.
  • However, there’s a high chance that whatever challenges you face, Google will find a solution for you. So Google before you do anything else.
  • Once you have a few clients, work hard on them and learn as much as you can.

Remember: this can be a bad trap as well. Don’t let your ego get filled up with positive recommendations. If that happens, you will start treating yourself as an expert and stop learning. Don’t let that happen.

One of the saddest things that can happen in the initial days is that you become too confident of your abilities. It’s important to have a growth mindset. At no point in time you will have all the answers, so always keep exploring. Read about Dunning-Kruger effect if you want to know how you can get a fake ego boost and why you should be aware of it.

Lastly, treat these 1–2 clients at the start as a ladder to learn more. Money shouldn’t be your priority (at least at this stage). So wait it out and learn as much as you can.

Now, I believe that people who get up in the morning and run fare better than people who just read about “How Running Can Change Your Life” while sitting on their couch and sipping a cola.

But having said that, you definitely can’t disregard the importance of courses, books, and other reading material. They add immense value and should always be used to gain knowledge.

So here’s a list of blogs and websites you can read:

  1. Buffer Blog: It’s a treasure trove of social media information. Buffer is an incredible social media tool. The companies work philosophy, their commitment to learning, and their ability to continuously inspire people in the digital is amazing on many levels. Bookmark them and learn every article they write.
  2. HubSpot Blog: HubSpot is one of the leaders in everything digital marketing. Their articles and studies are worth spending time on. So hop on, and read the HubSpot blog.
  3. Neil Patel: What if I told you there’s a guy who has walked the same path as you before and learned a lot of stuff while doing that? If you asked me who, I will direct you to Neil. There are many naysayers and people who crib about his work. But you can’t deny the impact he has on people who are just starting. Go read his blogs and you’d find yourself to be better prepared on everything digital (not just Social Media).
  4. Social Media Examiner: Social Media Examiner helps millions of businesses discover how to best use social media marketing to connect with customers, drive traffic, and increase sales. So join them and learn.

Other important ones include:
1. Seth Godin’s blog
2. Facebook Newsroom
3. Copyblogger
4. Social Media Today
5. Adweek
6. Hootsuite Blog
7. Sprout Social
8. Conversion XL
9. Growth Hackers

Here are tools and extensions you can use to stay organized

  • Feedly: Organize everything you want to read. It’s a charm.
  • Evernote: For all your notes, ideas, and everything in between.
  • Refind — Use this chrome extension and every time you open a new tab you will be in for a surprise read. It’s reading material on crack.

Other notable tools: Pocket, Todoist, Google Keep.

Courses? Here They Are

Buffer has written a spectacular post on the courses you can take to learn about social media and marketing in general. Here’s a full list: 37 Free Online Marketing and Social Media Classes to Elevate Your Skills.

Books To Read — Stuff Of Knowledge

Lastly, here are some must-read books that will expand your mind and help you become a better marketer:

  • Purple Cow by Seth Godin: Seth Godin is a marketing genius. You can learn a lot about marketing in general just by reading his blogs. Subscribe to them. It will fill up your email with brilliant insights and observations.
  • Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely: Some books will transform the way you think. Predictably Irrational and Thinking Fast and Slow top the list in my opinion. Absolutely worth every minute you spend on this book. You will learn a lot about how people make decisions — which will influence how you market to them.
  • Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Khanemann: One of the best books on what makes us tick. Definite reading.
  • Contagious by Jonah Berger: Be ready with a bookmark because you will find yourself brimming with ideas.

Other notable mentions: The Art Of Thinking Clearly, The Unpublished David Ogilvy

Social Media is an ever-involving industry. To keep up with the pace, learn to experiment, learn to read, and learn to get your hands dirty. Only then, you can make it to the top of your food chain.

This article was originally published on Quora as an answer to “I would wish to learn social media marketing. Are there online courses, books or reference websites?

Published by Prateek Keshari

Greetings, I’m Prateek. I’m a Digital Marketer at HCL Technologies living in New Delhi, India. I have a deep interest in marketing, psychology, and startups. In my free time, I experiment with design, photography and video-editing. I will be happy to connect with you on Twitter (@prateekkesharii) or LinkedIn (in/prateekkeshari)

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