Beginners have the advantage of being unencumbered by the rules. Their minds are free and open to suggestion without bad habits to fall back on. That is handy for embarking on social media in general and for starting a business in particular.
Take content strategist Jeremy Linaburg, not quite a year into birthing Wholesome Media. Together with his partner, soulmate and wife, Abby, he helms a company in sync with his social media motto, “Create content for positive change.”
The pair of beginners is also barely out of college with degrees in mass communication, business administration and marketing. Not knowing that newbies in their early 20s aren’t expected to succeed right out of the box, Wholesome Media is already collecting clients and results to set the business up for a nice long run.
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The Linaburgs hope to keep their beginner mindset, which Jeremy discussed with digital marketing expert Madalyn Sklar.
“A beginner mindset is the mindset that you have when you are starting something new in your life or industry,” Linaburg said. “This could be some knowledge you already have or maybe none at all.”
Those new to any business and vocation have to be careful not to assume knowledge.
“The worst thing you can do is to become a ‘know-it-all,’ someone who is closed off to new ideas and feels there’s nothing left to learn and no room for improvement,” Sklar said. “A beginner is open and eager to learn new things.
“With a beginner’s mindset, it’s like the world is your oyster,” she said. “You have so many opportunities and exciting adventures ahead of you. There are so many chances to grow and get better and better.”
If you don’t ask …
A beginner mindset is inquisitive. The more questions you ask, the more likely you’ll generate replies and build engagements.
“That’s the best mindset to have because you don’t have any preconceived notions of anyone or anything,” Linaburg said. “You are able to greet people with your arms wide open. You also have a thirst for knowledge that inspires you to reach out to new people.”
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That entails learning about who they are, where they’re from and what they do.
“You never know when networking may lead to a lifetime connection, whether it’s a friendship or a client,” Sklar said. “That’s why it’s so important to be open to these experiences.”
Social media mistakes will happen. Fortunately, true beginners carry an extra dose of resiliency.
“As with any mistakes, you learn from them,” Linaburg said. “Mistakes help you to better define your community as well as identify your areas of weakness. Mistakes are part of starting out. Without making mistakes how are we to learn?
“It is quick enough on Twitter, for instance, that you can push another tweet or message that helps explain your mistake,” he said.
The object is to keep miscues from ruining your day.
“There’s nothing wrong with making mistakes,” Sklar said. “The problem arises when you keep making the same mistake over and over. When you mess up, learn from it. Strive to make improvements the next time around.”
Having a beginner’s mindset helps create content.
“You are in the experimentation stage of your content creation, which has been the most fun for me,” Linaburg said. “It let me take more risks and produce fresh concepts to my communities. My main formula: Beginner Mindset = Content Experimentation.”
Fallacy of perfection
Wise veterans know not to let perfection be the enemy of good.
“There’s less stress about making things ‘perfect’ when you have a beginner’s mindset,” Sklar said. “This way, you won’t obsess so much over content creation, but rather you’ll be open to letting it flow.
“The best content comes when you show up as your true self and share what matters the most to you,” she said.
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Beginners are more likely to follow anyone who comes along on Twitter, not paying attention to whether people will talk with them or are just there to build numbers and sound important.
“You always play the risk game,” Linaburg said. “You live on the edge and try to figure out what works and what doesn’t. You don’t have a clear strategy, which can be so fun and exciting.”
That free-flowing mind also leads to innovation.
“This kind of mindset makes you more open to taking risks and experimenting with new ideas,” Sklar said. “This is great when it comes to your Twitter strategy. You’ll be more inclined to try different things to see what works best for you.”
“A social media audit should start with identifying all of your channels and reviewing them by network,” Martin said. “Are the profiles complete and on brand? Do they align with your overall business goals? What are your best posts over the last quarter?”
Best audit traits
These are what a good social media audit will tell you:
- What content is working and what’s not
- Who your audience is
- If your channels tell an aligned brand story
- New opportunities to grow and engage your audience
In her article, “How to Review and Clean Up Your Twitter Account,” Sklar shares five essential steps to help give Twitter accounts a good cleaning. She also has basic audit tips:
- Unfollow Inactive Accounts
- Create Lists of Your Favorite Accounts
- Conduct an Audit of Your Settings and Privacy
- Review Tools Accessing Your Account
- Give Your Profile a Refresh
Hootsuite also has an article, “How to Conduct a Social Media Audit.”
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Even while doing regular audits, you can develop a beginner’s mindset by not overthinking.
“You need to try new things,” Linaburg said. “Get involved in conversations. Just jump into the game. It is also important that you stay open minded. Don’t try to be like everyone else. Every beginner has an unbiased and clear mindset. Do you?”
Then become a trusted, reliable source of information.
“Share the new things you learn with your community,” Sklar said. “Make time to engage with others, and really get to know them. Be open to feedback so you can continuously improve. Again, don’t be afraid to make mistakes along the way.”
Being a beginner is different from having a beginner’s mindset.
“You can know a lot about social and marketing but can enter that industry as a beginner,” Linaburg said. “That doesn’t mean that you have a beginner’s mindset on those topics.”
Carryover for veterans
Beginning is not just for beginners.
“Anyone can cultivate this way of thinking and implement it into their everyday lives as well as their businesses,” Sklar said.
Keep watching, listening and talking. Telephones used to have party lines, which was one way you got to know your neighbors. With Twitter, you have a party line to the world where you never know what lurks in the next conversation. Stay open for the serendipity.
“Never fall into the trap of thinking you know everything,” Sklar said. “Prioritize learning new things and expanding your knowledge of the world around you. If there’s something you don’t know about, take the time to research it.
“I am constantly learning and never view myself as a know-it-all,” she said. “My daily routine is to learn as much as I can. Then turn around and share it with those who will listen.”
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Linaburg has a prime pro tip.
“Surround yourself with beginners and those who want to learn in different industries,” he said. “You may think that the people you follow on Twitter are pros, but I bet they are learning. The majority of people who I am friends with have a beginner’s mindset.”
He followed up with more tips:
- Continue engaging in different industries.
- Yearn to learn more and experience new things.
- Be willing to live on the edge with your content, and take risks.
“One of the leading experts in Twitter knowledge says she is always learning,” Linaburg said. “Are you? Keep that beginner mindset, and keep learning and growing.”
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