Social Media Marketing Short Courses, Boon Or Bane?

It seems that almost everywhere you go these days, you’ll come across entities offering social media marketing short courses. The most common ones are two-day courses for Facebook marketing, usually held in a hotel function room for small groups. And they usually cost between MYR2,000 to MYR3,000 (convert to your own currency where applicable). Sounds familiar? It should. You’re surrounded by offerings like these almost every other day. And it might even have stirred up some dormant interest in you too.

Social media marketing

So What Exactly Is Social Media Marketing?

If we go back in history, businesses who want to make known and spread their offerings advertise. And the traditional way of advertising is to engage an agency or some sort. The agency’s job is generally broken into two equally important parts, content creation and platform hosting.

Content creation, as the name suggests, is the process of authoring a message, usually a corporate message. These “messages” can be in the form of text (editorial), videos, images, graphics, or any kinds of abstract form. Any form to convey the message that you want to “speak to the masses” with.

Once you have authored the “message” that you want to convey, you’ll then need a way to disseminate it. You’ll need a platform to host your message, a “vehicle” to carry your message to the intended audience. It doesn’t matter whether it’s meant for a specifically targeted audience, or simply to blast to the masses. More often than not, this “vehicle” is some sort of a medium, whether print, electronic, or in the information age, cyberspace. This “vehicle” is known to those in the business as “media space”

The only problem is… And there definitely is one… Advertising agencies aren’t cheap… Not even close to “affordable”, especially if you’re a small or medium sized business.

Social Media, The Ultimate Marketing / Advertising Media Space

We also know that the world’s widest reaching medium today is social media. Henceforth, it’s expected that businesses would want to host their messages on social media. And when social media companies start commercialising their platform, and sell media space to host these “messages”, social media marketing is born… More specifically social media advertising, but for some reason, people seem to prefer the former term.

But there’s one major difference between traditional media and social media. They’re not only accessible to the masses to consume content, but also host their own content too. And with that, media space is now not only being sold to ad agencies, but also available to the masses. Oh, did we also mention that social media is free?…

Free?… Yes… Without any terms of conditions?… Hmmm… Not exactly!…

Wait!… Did I Just Hear FREE?…

Well… yes and no… While social media is indeed free for anybody to access and consume content, it’s not completely free in a sense. Social media companies still sell media space, just not in the same way that newspapers, billboards, TV and radio stations do. Their objective is to make it affordable enough to the general masses, and attractive enough for just about anybody to advertise with them. If you want a somewhat targeted audience, then you’ll have to pay for it (albeit at a relatively low price). But if you don’t mind your messages being limited within your circle of contacts, then yes, it’s totally free for you to do so.

So to enjoy a completely free experience, you’re gonna have to push the envelope of your message’s exposure yourself. Find ways to add audience to your circle of friends, and your message will appear to them. Then ask them to further share your message to their own contacts, and you’ll get secondary exposure from your contacts. The target, well, it’s to grow exponentially from then onwards.

Sounds pretty easy, isn’t it?… Except, it usually doesn’t spread as fast or as far as you might expect it too… Your message will run out of steam pretty quickly. So to keep that from happening, you could always boost its reach… But that means you’re actually buying media space from the social media company… Which brings you back to square one… $$$$$

The Solution To Keeping It Completely Free

Well, sign up for a social media marketing course, of course… Learn to manage your own social media presence completely on your own. Resist the temptation to resort to the pesky boosting that social media companies entice you with… You can do it completely on your own, completely within your control, and completely free of charge…

Except… Well, you’ve already paid to attend the social media marketing course, so technically it’s not completely free… And what you learn there can get pretty technical, which makes it intimidating for you to apply. Which would then necessitate additional follow up courses (read: more money). At the end of the day, you’ll either simply cave in, and pay the social media company boost fees, or simply give up completely.

And that’s assuming that you already have content to be hosted on the social media platform in the first place…

Free Platform Is Meaningless If You Have No Content To Share

You get all hyped up about getting the biggest bang for the buck with media space. And at the end of the day, you still have no story to host there, in your free media space…

Here you go, a free fish bowl of award winning gold fish you ordered. Don’t forget to add your own award winning gold fish. Image designed by macrovector / freepik.com

Oh, did we mention that they don’t include content creation in their free package?… Well, they don’t include content creation in their paid package either… Even if you land a bargain of the century with media space, it still won’t do you any good. It’s like securing a dream deal for the best novel publication with a publisher. It even comes complete with all the book signing engagements and publicity, but you don’t have a story to print in your fancy hardcover book… That’s right… You’re gonna need a story to tell… You can’t simply publish an empty book

The Catch Is Hidden In Plain Sight

You’ve heard of the phrase before, the secret is hidden in plain sight. Well, it’s the same with this case too. These service providers hype up free hosting for all your marketing communications. They just neglect to tell you that you have to provide your own content. They show you all the “free” platforms that they offer, and how you can “manage your own mass communication”. And even emphasise that the total cost of self managing your marketing communication is absolutely zero. They just don’t tell you that you need something for your chosen platform to host.

So is this all a hoax?… Can we sue them for false advertising?… Well, technically, it’s all very true. And you can’t sue them for selling everything exactly as they claimed that they offer. Nobody’s lying here. It’s more like stealthily and strategically leaving out facts. Facts that nobody ever realised are important, until it’s too late, and they’ve paid up in full.

Social media marketing because social media is free?
The details are hidden in plain sight. You just need to know where to look. Image by Jörg Buntrock from Pixabay 

Our Opinion On Social Media Marketing

If you’re confident that you have all that content creation responsibility under control, then proceed with confidence. After all, you are getting the media space for literary a song and a dance, if not completely free. But if you were to ask our opinion, statistically speaking, there’s a higher significance of failure rate to create content than failure to secure a media space to host your content… Yes, significantly higher… Which means, you’re more likely to own a media platform with no story to tell, than to have an exciting story with no platform to share it on.

If you need any real help, it’s usually in the form of content creation. And that’s one service that’s truly lacking in this modern information age. There’s not enough story tellers out there, writing the origin stories of business entities, and what makes them different from the others.

Need To Speak To Someone To Clear Your Doubts?

We don’t dare to claim that we’re the only party to offer content creation. But we do claim that content creation is the epicentre of all the services that we provide. So if you want to know what is it that you’ve been missing all these while, buy us a cup of coffee. And in return, we shall share with you all the skills that you’ll need to make your story heard.

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