Discover what our intern Jessica learned from watching other people learn about social media.

I don’t claim to be a great all-knowing social media prodigy. But I was pretty speedy jumping on the MySpace wagon in middle school. Everyone I know has a Facebook, and slowly but surely people around me are getting used to the idea of Twitter. Growing up around it, social networking becomes almost second nature. If something bizarre happens that strikes my attention, you’d better believe I’m going to tweet it before I say it out loud to anyone.

That’s why I find myself rolling my eyes when my mom asks me how to tag a Facebook picture or like a status from her phone. Is there something to be learned here though? Absolutely.

Have you ever heard it said that teaching someone else how to do a math problem helps you learn it better for yourself? Well, no one in my entire life has ever asked me for help with a number problem. They know better. But the concept is the same. By walking my mom step-by-step through Facebook, I realized the power of this social media tool.

Last week, Lorraine and Allison held their Social Media Stew Seminar. I sat in on it thinking it would be interesting to observe business owners learning about an emerging marketing strategy unfamiliar to them. At first I pictured them as fish out of water. But they surprised me by asking really relevant questions that even someone of my generation could benefit from. For example, what is the difference between Facebook and Twitter?

Well, first off, obviously Twitter gives you only 140 characters to express yourself in a given tweet. Facebook gives you the option to “like” statuses and photos, while Twitter has the “retweet” button instead. I could go on for days listing the differences on the surface between these social networking sites.

But what’s important to companies is what you do with social media. Should your business put more focus on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or something outside of “the big three”? And why? Different types of businesses benefit from certain aspects of these sites. I won’t go into too many gory details, but for example, an interior design company would probably find Facebook useful for displaying pictures of their work since Facebook is image-effective. A law firm may not find much traffic that way. That’s something I hadn’t thought about in depth before sitting in on the social Media Stew Seminar.

I’m not trying to teach you about this stuff. Obviously I still have a while to go before I can educate someone more than a few clicks and into the strategy mindset of social media marketing.

What I am saying is that new learners can teach us a lot about what we do. They can tell us why, how, and even remind us of something simple we might have forgotten or overlooked.