Social Media Marketing – Is Being Self-Taught Really A Problem?

Social Media Marketing - Go Pro or Go Home!

Social media marketing is presently the buzz word for online marketers. And this is not a surprise because; businesses have discovered that with social media you can reach a wider market at a minimal cost.

The simplicity and ease of entry has made many small and medium sized businesses to take to social media marketing as an option of reaching the vast online market.

Today, on our community discussion, I want us to discuss an issue raised in a survey by the Social Media Marketing University that has to do with small businesses using social media.

The Social Media Marketing University, a social media training firm, recently surveyed entrepreneurs, executives, marketing pros, and social media practitioners, and discovered that 65% of those presently using social media campaigns are self-taught.

Now, to me, this is not a surprise because we all know that social media is still in its infancy and social media marketing had not really been an academic subject until of recent when a few business schools are adding it to their curriculum.

In fact, the 65% result is truly a conservative figure by me!

So, my grouse is not really with that 65% but a blog post on their company website titled, “For Social Media Marketing, Go Pro or Go Home,” which suggest that, except you have some academic training and certified as such, you would be doing more harm than good with your social media marketing.

Of course, I understand the need of  becoming an expert in what you do but most times, as seen in most online successes, becoming an expert do not really come from some academic training. Expertise could come from “from the trenches” experiences rather than a classroom.

Understandably, the Social Media Marketing University, as a training institute, desires to see more social media marketers taking up their training courses, but that does not mean self-taught social media marketers do not have a chance succeeding with social media marketing. In fact, many are already achieving outstanding success.

Indeed, this might just be my own views.

And so, I’m bringing this before the community for us to discuss it further.

      1. Do you agree that being self-taught is a problem to succeeding with social media marketing?
      2. Do you really agree that with Social Media Marketing, you either go Pro or Go Home?

As usual, feel free to air your thoughts. Post your views in your comments below.

(NOTE: Besides this issue, the blog post has some very salient points and tips for small businesses using social media and so you may want to read it. Check it out here. For those who are new to our community time-out, it is a weekly – usually on Mondays – discussion time when we take up crucial topics we consider pertinent to our online success. You can suggest topics for discussion by using this form.)

Image: Flickr user Extra Medium

  1. Hey Chadrack,

    We all learn differently, some like to learn from a mentor/teachers and others likes to learn from the real world environment.

    Being self taught is becoming more popular as people don’t want to pay for education when they can learn it from forums, blogs and just about any website on the internet.

    We have lots of choice on how we learn so its not surprising that things a moving this way.

    • @Simmeon,

      I agree with you that there are open to us different ways of learning today. Apart from the fact that people don’t want to pay (financially) for their education, it’s also clear that you cannot learn everything in a classroom setting especially when it comes to running a business. Of course, what the classroom does for us is give us the basics or principles but the real learning comes from the practical experiences.

      I think this is where I have problems with the stance of Social Media Marketing University.

  2. Hey Chadrack,

    I think that sometimes self taught is the best way because you’ll soon figure out what works and what doesn’t because a lot of these people who are teaching you how to be successful on social media aren’t doing a fabulous job themselves.

    Okay, some are really killing it so don’t get me wrong but I see a lot of people who claim to be experts yet aren’t really receiving the following that I believe they should either. Either way, I know for me I do better when I’m learning as I’m going.

    Great observation though. As always, great information to wrap our brains around.


    • @Adrienne,

      That’s really what got me thinking when I read that article. I know most of what I’ve learned online, I did mostly from my personal experiences. And like you said, a good number of those trying to teach others these things have no proof that they know better.

      For example, I cannot in any way term myself a social media expert. Yes, I know a few things about social media marketing but that doesn’t make me an expert in that field. Whatever I share about social media is nothing but the little knowledge I have about that topic. Setting up a site and wanting to teach people that subject will be highest form of hypocrisy for me.

      I also think that most of these academicians who are teaching social media marketing rarely knows the practical applications like the little guys out there who are using these platforms everyday.

      For example, I came across a blog a couple of weeks ago and must say I’ve learned so much about facebook from that site that I just wondered how little I really know about Facebook.

      All the same, I think Social Media Marketing University have a point about getting the proper education if you really want to achieve good success, but saying self-taught social media marketers should go home is really taking it too far!

  3. Both are alright for me. The only problem I have with going to someone or institution to learn it is that they will never teach you everything. You still have to learn yourself. Having that at the back of my mind I know that if I put all my effort to learn it by myself I will do better than if someone taught me. Although if I have a teacher I will learn faster. The problems with Nigerians is that they stick to old outdated technologies. This is because our students stick to handout printed by lecturers which will only produce local champion. For me self training is more profitable because I will read international materials to get myself updated.

    • @Dyke,

      I understand your point but academic training is never meant to teach you everything. The purpose is simply to give you the basics that is neccessary for a good foundation. That is why learning never stops.

      However, when it comes to business training like this one, what you learn by doing is much more beneficial than what anyone will teach you. I agree with you that getting someone to guide you at the beginning will definitely help you move faster with your learning and therefore your results.

      As much as I agree with all of these, I still think the Social Media Marketing University knew what they were looking for and therefore targeted their research towards that which led them to the conclusion that self-taught social media marketers either go pro or go home! I don’t begrudge them though for I know they are looking for clients! 🙂

      Thanks for joining the conversation.

  4. Hi there I think that having own thought in social media is not that bad, specially if you are new to this. because many people does this.but I am glad that I found this great article that I can use for future reference. sometimes it is better to research on something so that once you have started there shouldn’t be a problem.

    • @Kate Brown Wilson,

      I’m glad that this post resonate with you. I truly hope that you’re able to use it for your future endeavours. Thanks for the comment.

  5. There is nothing wrong with being self-taught, you just need to have a passion for social media marketing.

    • @Allen,

      Definitely. I don’t see why you should not go out there and get all the information you can and teach yourself. In fact, there is so much information on the net which most training institutions will never give you. What you need to decide on is, do you have more time on your hands or you have some money to spend?

      Thanks for joining the conversation.

  6. Both are good for me. We can not learn so many all by ourself. Combination will be better.

  7. Hey Chadrack,

    Being self taught isn’t the problem, the problem is realizing what’s important, learning from others (Always having a mindset of learning rather than boasting yourself as a leader and know it all guy). There is a lot to learn in social media marketing (Things are changing every day – for one to be a successful social media marketer, I think they must have some knowledge in behavioral psychology, communications and experience in social media itself.

    Anyways, thank you for the post,

    Jeevan Jacob John.

    By the way, did you update your comment luv plugin? I am getting internal server error.(There is a new version in which a bug is fixed).

    • @Jeevan Jacob John,

      I agree with you that there is so much to learn about social media. Of course, most of those who want to teach others these things really do not have much experience in them. But like you said, having a knowledge of behavioral psychology and communications is very important and this is one area that I think these training programs may be of help.

      However, ultimately your real training in social media will be the experience you garner from you “doing.” This is where I have a problem with that saying that, you either get the training or ‘go home!’

      Sorry about that problem, it does appear to be a technical problem on our side here because I updated to the new version last week. I do hope we be able to take of it very soon.

      Thanks for joining your voice to the conversation.

  8. Hello Chadrack, I do believe that being Self-taught can be one of the biggest advantages to succeed with social media marketing,under one condition and that is, learn from people who do excel in their domain. My father told me always, my son, whatever you do in your live, do it only the excellent way, this is the only way you will succeed.And one of my criteria to find out if a person excels in his domain is to ask myself this question:”what’s the money behind all that?” If the answer is: it is the most important part of his teachings,I go and look further to find a better Master to teach me. Money can never be the dominant factor, only love can be. the love to empower someone with your knowledge is the most rewarding thing.This does not mean that everything must be for free but it but the financial rewarding must not be dominant.
    To answer the second question, in my opinion, never go home if you want to become a Pro because no Pro, wherever on this whole planet, started as a Pro but became it bu doing while learning.
    You mad an excellent post here which required to make us think about.
    Kind regards,

    • @Giovanni Baele,

      It’s really great to hear from you and your thoughts really put me to some more thinking. I truly agree with you that you don’t have to quit now because as they say, winners never quit. You must start from somewhere. You may not be there right now but you can still get there if you are ready to learn.

      Having said that, Giovanni, I think I’m getting you wrong somewhere. You began by saying, “I do believe that being Self-taught can be one of the biggest advantages to succeed with social media marketing,under one condition and that is, learn from people who do excel in their domain.” Do you mean here that we should learn from those who are already a success in the field or you want us to believe learning on our own is the best? Will appreciate you will expatiate on this.

      Thanks for the comment while expecting to hear more from you.

  9. Good day Chadrack, very good question.To reply to your comment I would say this: On our own we still have to learn from someone but our subconscious MIND has yet all the answers to that inside. The only thing we need, to unlock those messages are TRIGGERS. For example, as we are learning on the go, or by doing things, we follow in a universal way, people to whom we are attracted because we emit the same frequencies.
    It’s like when you search a radio station on your radio, you are fine- tuning on a station to “capture” the “good” frequency.
    We start listening to that radio station and after a while we “feel” that what we receive is not in harmony whit what we are searching for and so we continue searching to find out what “triggers” us.
    So if you want to become good or even excellent in what you are doing surround yourself with people who are yet “High level personalities” Those persons are real gems to you and will, without doubt teach you their knowledge. To resume,
    1.Start by searching what you want to be in life
    2.Fine tune on people that emit that frequency.
    3.Connect with them and learn what they have to teach you.
    4.Try to become a “higher level personality”
    5.Share with other seekers what you’ve learned.

    I sincerely do hope that i answered well the question and helped those who read.
    Kind regards,

  10. Reply
    create mobile website August 10, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Yes, you can use them in putting your nursery/kindergarten school online. And, I would also suggest to have a YouTube channel to increase your online presence.

  11. there’s nothing wrong with being self-taught, you just need to have a passion for social media marketing.
    Allen @ Social Media application wants you to check out

  12. hmmm..obviously social media z great source to make the product popular..but nywys no one can completely rely only on it…there is much more to do…for successful product…:)

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