My heart says I’ll never be too old. My head says it may happen one day – but not yet.
Let me add some context before you read any further. I’m 48 and I’m loving this decade. I’ve got shed loads of experience that people value. There’s still lots to learn and new avenues that need exploring. Suffice to say, I have high hopes of my 50s too.
The thing is, when it comes to age you need to ask “what for?” And in this instance I’m thinking specifically about social media.
The thing about social media is that it can make you feel old. Even when you’re still in your twenties! The constant change, updates and ongoing affirmation are not for the faint hearted.
Today I had coffee with a couple of ex colleagues, one a marketing strategist and the other an SEO expert. Between us we span three different generations. And to be honest, because we’re marketing bods, we’re good at social media. It’s (part of) the world we work in. The one we’ve embraced, even if none of it existed when we created our first campaign or filed our first copy.
So, while the three of us will happily post, pin, share and comment, we’re probably not representative of our peers. For us social media is about creativity – not age. But for some social media is very age specific.
I say this because one of the comments I hear over and over from my B2B clients is “But I don’t get social media”. Swiftly followed by “I can’t waste my time on Twitter” and “Why should I bother with LinkedIn?”
As for Instagram and Google +, for many medium sized B2B clients, these are still uncharted territories. What’s changed recently, though, is that these same people are now telling me they know they “need to do something” – they just don’t know what. Or who should do it.
Here’s the thing: effective B2B social media needs time. To get time it needs to deliver results. To deliver results it needs to be backed by a solid strategy and messaging.
To achieve this your strategic team needs to combine brand and strategy expertise (likely to be director level) and social media understanding and enthusiasm (likely to be executive level).
Delivery needs to be clearly directed, efficient and responsive. It’s not enough to simply hand your social media over to your newest, youngest, most enthusiastic recruit and watch from the sidelines. But you can manage the process as a team.
My advice for those struggling with social media is this:
1. Understand why and how
Know how they work, who they talk to, and what they can achieve. Relate them back to your marketing goals.
2. Be honest
If you need to do more, are you really the right person to deliver it? It might be more cost effective to enlist the help and creativity of a social media expert or to upskill and manage a member of the marketing team.
3. Find shortcuts
Investing in a tailored training session can be a quick win. DIY social media means you’ll have to find your own shortcuts. Insist that your trainer leaves you with a list of social media hacks.
Back to my initial question: how old is too old for social media?
The answer is never – you just need a strategy and team which plays to your strengths (and interests).