‘practitioner’ noun

Def – a person actively engaged in an art, discipline, or profession, especially medicine.

I’m not a doctor. Although I do have a knack for self-diagnosing medical issues. Perhaps I missed my true calling. I do however, regard myself as a practitioner in what I do. Digital marketing is the wide-reaching area I’m engaged in, and social media marketing is a large chunk of that. While my role is now mainly strategic, or at a consultancy level, I ensure that I can effectively use the social media technology that’s a part of any strategy. I don’t believe that you can genuinely add value unless you get your hands dirty on a regular basis.

shutterstock_93339982 (1)Image via Shutterstock

Maintain the skills to pay the bills

If you take social media, the platforms have a nasty habit of changing things up from time to time, whether that be image dimensions, post types or simply a change in terms and condition of use – rules around competitions and so on. If you aren’t on top of these changes, you’re simply not at the races as far as I’m concerned. Can you resize an image to the optimal dimensions for each platform? Add some design panache (yes! Been wanting to work panache into a post for ages)? Write impactful copy in-line with the best practice for each platform? Talk informatively about the metrics and when new data options come to light, be aware of how to apply them? The list goes on and on. What about tools? Can you use social media management tools such as Sprout Social or SocialBro?

It doesn’t stop there

Paid social media activity – social ads etc has never been more important. Earlier today I wrote a proposal that was purely based on social media advertising. For that document, I had to get into Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and create some targeting profiles in order to illustrate to the potential client their likely audience and what it will cost to activate them. I knew that some of the figures that were coming back were inflated, or that by tweaking the targeting in certain areas, I can bring down the likely CPC (cost per click). How do I know this? Because I create, optimise and manage these campaigns on a regular basis. My hands are regularly dirty. Metaphorically speaking.

shutterstock_242300698Image via Shutterstock

I’m not blowing my own trumpet here

I don’t even know how to play the trumpet. What I’m trying to do is to push home the fact that people can theorise, strategise and consultarise (I know) all they want, but unless they’re at the coal-face on a regular basis, I can pretty much guarantee they aren’t truly hitting the mark. I take an active role in social media management for two clients on a daily basis – creating content, optimising it and interacting with their audiences. Not only do I enjoy it, but it gives me super-valuable insight into what works and it provides me with that insight when it comes to reporting that I otherwise wouldn’t have if I just took the data at face-value.

Skills out-with your core output

As I started writing this post, WordPress started to misbehave, not recognising bold or italics. I had to switch to the ‘text’ tab and have a look at the code to see what was going on. Pesky <div>s all over the shop. Why? I don’t know, but I knew what to do to fix it and make sure things were being displayed the way I so desired. I’m no code-master, don’t get my wrong, but I do know enough HTML to get me through any hassles. Not related to social media, or even marketing per-se, but I still need that skill in order to write my blog posts.

Practice makes perfect

Taking things back to social media, I often try things out with my personal profiles, Twitter and so on. It’s a bit of a playground for me and I don’t mind if things don’t work out 100% there, it’s better there than on a client’s profile of course! I also have test Facebook Pages and Twitter accounts set-up (and protected) for trying out image sizes, designs etc. You can learn a lot by playing around in a ‘safe’ environment. When it comes to paid social media, I’ll try new ad formats or target groups for my own content, whether that be this blog or my podcast. The tools are there, use them and learn.

On that note, I’ll leave you to it. Go ahead and get involved, don’t sit up your strategic chair, thinking that getting dirt under your nails is beneath you. You’ll be much better at your job.

Any questions about any of this? Feel free to leave a comment, tweet me, or send a
good olde email. If you have access to Edinburgh, you may be interested in my Social Media Briefing on May 27th.

My latest podcast

You can also listen on iTunes and Stitcher!

Header image via Shutterstock

blog comments powered by Disqus

Get in touch