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Understanding is important

Do you think there is a significant difference between understanding a task and being able to do it with skill?

I would never pretend to be able to write and design a PDS for example – I hire a professional designer for the design aspects of the job – but I understand many aspects of making it effective (such as using white space and images to make it appealing, avoiding ‘orphans and widows’, being consistent in fonts and headings, and adjusting things to work with page breaks and spreads).

Likewise, when dealing with an architect, I can state functional uses of a space and know that they will match function, materials, space, appearance and reality (i.e. not every idea is really feasible!) I understand the project and outcomes but leave the expert to draw up the plans.

understanding is joyous and uses our brains, whether for social media or not

Marketing and social media

A recent IBM study about marketing professionals showed that only 12% consider social media expertise as critical to their personal success in the next 3 to 5 years. Ross Dawson points out the concern with this figure – how can marketers maximise social media for the business they market if they don’t understand it?

I know I understand social media and its power much better since I started using it. I even remember wondering about the value of blogs and making time to read blogs – until I started this blog and realised it’s potential and how useful other blogs can be.

I think it is ok to get someone else to write your blog posts or monitor your mentions on social media. But understanding these media yourself is important. Why?

  1. if you understand, you can check the people you hire are doing their job
  2. if you understand, you can fill in if your expert is absent for a little while
  3. if you truly understand, you can find ideas and inspiration to maximise use of these media (for example, instead of just tweeting and reading tweets of those you follow, have you searched for leads on Twitter?)
  4. if you understand, you can integrate your brand and message throughout your business – including running campaigns across multiple media
What do you think – do you have to understand something before bringing in an expert to do the task for you? Should marketing people, in particular, understand social media?

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