You don’t stay at the top of your game by sitting on the bench. We’ve all heard the pithy statement, “be a lifelong learner,” and everyone says they want to stay on top, out front, and in the know, but so few actually do anything about it. Social Media books are a challenge since the platforms change before books can even be published, and yet daily reading and learning on topics relevant to your industry is how you stay ahead of your competitors and your consumers.
[bctt tweet=”If you aren’t making today’s YOU obsolete, someone else is.” username=”GinaSchreck”]
Over twenty years ago, I was working with groups in the cable industry helping them put together a sales and marketing program to combat the “new competitor in town”… Satellite Dish! Before putting the program together, I went into several big box retailers who were selling satellite dish equipment and service to gather first-hand information. I got brochures, installation information, pricing, and heard what they told customers about cable companies. The managers at the cable companies were amazed at all I knew so much about this new and mysterious competitor. I had information they didn’t even know and yet this was THEIR INDUSTRY! All I did was go into stores and ask questions. One person said to me, “If we need to know it, corporate usually sends us all the information.” This is such a sad statement!
If you want to be employable or stay in business today, you’d better take your learning more seriously and stay up on what is going on in your industry. Know who your competition is and what your customers are wanting. If you want to know why that is critical, just ask any Taxi driver about Uber!
Today I talk to people who say they don’t know anything about how to build a social media strategy, how to build an influencer program, or how to create KPI’s (key performance indicators) in their marketing efforts, and yet there is more information available to us today than ever before.
Sadly when I ask other “social media experts” what they do to stay on top of their game, many say they don’t have time. I bet they have plenty of time for TV or other time-wasting activities. People say things like “I’d do anything to have a business like so-and-so,” and yet they really wouldn’t.
If you are wondering how you can sharpen your skills and truly be a lifelong learner, here are 3 ways to continually grow your social media and content marketing know-how:
Read Social Media News Every Day
Find a few industry blogs and subscribe to them. Add them to your Feedly.com account or other blog reader. I like using apps like Flipboard to pull in my favorite topics and bloggers. Then when I sit down to read, I simply open my app and it pulls in great relevant content to stay on top of things.
Listen to podcasts in your industry
You might prefer to spend your workout time or long walks listening to Adele whisper sad melodies in your ear, but line up a few podcasts that fill your brain with industry news and you can work both your brain and body at the same time. This is a free and very easy way to stay abreast of what’s going on, new tools being used, best practice stories, and more. I asked several people for their favorite social media podcasts and I was really disappointed to learn so many who work in this industry don’t listen to podcasts or read regular blogs.
Here is a list of podcasts to help get you started and help you stay up on the latest social marketing news and information:
- Social Media Examiner with Michael Stelzner
- Social Pros Podcast with Adam Brown and Jay Baer
- The Marketing Companion Podcast with Mark Schaefer and Tom Webster
- ProBlogger Podcast with Darren Rowse
- PNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Paluzzi and Robert Rose
- Six Pixels of Separation with Mitch Joel
- Duct Tape Marketing with Scott Oldford
- Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty with Mignon Fogerty (aka Grammar Girl) – Thanks Kimbirly Orr for sharing this with me.
- This is Your Life with Michael Hyatt
- Ask Gary Vee Show with Gary Vaynerchuk – Kimbirly Orr says she can’t get enough Gary Vee!
- SEO & Social Media Tips with Jon Tromans
- The Bean Cast with Bob Knorpp
- Digital Marketer Podcast – Thanks JD Prater for sharing this with me.
Attend social media and content marketing conferences
There are so many great social media conferences for people at every level. If you are committed to your career in social marketing, you have to invest in yourself and your education. Here are just a few of the top conferences
- Social Media Marketing World – held in San Diego annually and put on by Michael Stelzner at Social Media Examiner.
- Content Marketing World – Held in Cleveland annually
- Social Media Success Summit – a virtual event held in the fall each year for those who are not able to travel to a conference.
- Inbound – Hubspot’s annual inbound marketing conference held in Boston late fall.
- Look for local social media or marketing conferences and events as well.
What other things do you do to stay on top of your industry expertise? Do you have conferences or podcasts you would recommend? Let us know in the comments below–I’ll add them in here.
Remember, if you aren’t making today’s YOU obsolete, someone out there is going to do it for you!