Every few months, I receive an invitation from the fab team at the Juice Academy in Manchester. It’s always a great opportunity to share my knowledge, experience and thoughts with the social media marketers of the future!
These future marketers are apprentices that have taken the fantastic opportunity offered by The Juice Academy to work with some amazing companies in Greater Manchester. I do not use this word lightly, as they include the likes of Social Chain and UNILAD, who represent some of the most powerful brands in the world of social media.
When speaking to the apprentices, one of my key messages is the importance of the ‘M’ word, that being ‘marketing’. I emphasise as social media people, what we are doing is marketing, because with social media, comes opportunity.
Even though we don’t go on social media to buy a product or service, we are open to suggestion and the opportunity of using clever marketing techniques to create engagement and subsequently create leads. Whether that’s through making sales or gaining traffic to websites meaning we can engage with our target audience.
I am a big believer in marketing strategy and using marketing techniques to formulate strategies and campaigns. Moreover, I believe having a marketing background or knowledge of the subject makes it easier when: creating audiences, selecting copy, choosing images/video and creating an Ad.
Of course, marketing can be subjective, anyone can potentially do ‘marketing’, but having that theoretical knowledge and understanding allows you to make assumptions, reach conclusions and make decisions based on proven marketing techniques. It is something that I hold in paramount importance within my own agency, Soc-Med: Social Media and something I mention to The Juice Academy apprentices.
Furthermore, this is the main reason why I accept the invitation to speak to the apprentices. Because in addition to the workplace placement, they also receive ongoing training and a classroom style training/education to help them develop themselves and increase their knowledge of marketing.
As a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), I am a big believer in continuous professional development and learning new things. Even though I have a background in Marketing and have been involved in the subject, since I did my A Levels and Post-Graduate studies, I believe this especially in Marketing, which has seen changes and a massive shift towards digital over the last 10 years or so.
Yes, the methods of advertising and marketing your product have changed, but the theory and principles of Marketing have remained. People still speak about the Marketing Mix, they still carry out a SWOT analysis and still need to do Market Research etc.
So, when I see places like The Juice Academy offer apprenticeships as an alternative to the College/University route and offering both theory and practice, I am very much encouraged and want to be part of it.