Certified Social Media Strategists (SMS) are required to complete 20 hours of continuing education every 2 years to maintain their cert, so we asked members of our community…what are you doing this summer to keep your skills fresh? Join us the month of June and hear what they have to say!
In 2017, I decided I wanted to focus more on social media research – proven and emerging techniques. The timing was great because we were just starting to work with the Social Media Research Association (SMRA) and I had finished the bulk of my book about certification prep, so I was ready for a new challenge. But how could l learn more about research techniques…in a fun and interesting way?
I’ve always been interested in archaeology – ever since I learned from Indiana Jones that I could fulfill my lifelong dream of teaching while simultaneously being a great adventurer. But if I was going to study archaeology, I knew I needed two things.
- A reason (other than just thinking it’s a cool thing to learn more about)
- Structure (a class, an accountabilibuddy, etc. to keep me on track)
I learned a long time ago that the idea of learning will always be of interest to me, but for me to actually do the work, I need purpose and support. When I decided to study archaeology, I determined that my purpose was to explore a new and systematic way to conduct research in a way that I would enjoy. My structure was a class – and then a certificate program – in archaeology. Paying attention to how I learn best has been the key to my success so far this summer.
My Life in Ruins.
Will my archaeology coursework count toward my SMS recertification? Definitely not. But it has helped me see new ways of organizing information and provided me with creative comparisons that can make what seems like boring social media research seem fun. For example, the picture attached to this post is a perfect pit. How did my team create such a fantastic result?
- We clearly defined our parameters. We all agreed we were digging 1 square meter – no more and no less.
- We moved incrementally (2 inches at a time), carefully exploring each level.
- If one of us fell behind, the others helped so we all stayed on track.
- We switched roles when we needed to – taking turns digging, sifting, and bagging what we found.
- We expanded our dig when we needed to, but we decided as a team to make changes to our strategic plan.
If anyone’s ever worked on a marketing team, those steps may sound familiar. Doing research online follows a lot of the same process – and communication with the team is equally important.
It’s also been an opportunity for me to develop my patience and creativity. I assure you, digging at an archaeological site isn’t nearly as exciting as Indiana Jones made it seem. Sometimes the content you study isn’t all you learn!
My question for readers is simple: What are you learning about this summer? Are you taking a creative approach to your professional development plan?
What will the NISM community be writing about in the month of June?
Throughout the month, we’ll be hearing from SMS community members around the world! Our incoming board chair will share her focus on learning more about video, an NISM educator in Germany will talk about keeping up with regulations, and we’ll even hear from our NISM for Good (social media strategy for non-profits) instructor about keeping up with continuing education in the non-profit sector. Life-long learning habits, redesigning marketing courses, and user-generated content are all on the agenda! Follow along with #NISMce on Twitter and see what great ideas for summer learning you can dig up!
Author: Amy Jauman
Dr. Amy Jauman, SMS, is the Chief Learning Officer at the National Institute for Social Media and author of the Comprehensive Field Guide for Social Media Strategists. Amy is also one of 58 members representing 12 countries in the inaugural class of the Prezi Educator Society. Previously she was the Social Media Director for Women Entrepreneurs of Minnesota (WeMN) and she currently serves as the marketing director for the Minnesota Chapter of the National Speakers Association. She is also an adjunct professor in the St. Catherine University Business Department and the St. Mary’s University of Minnesota MBA program.