Yesterday, I completed the rewrite of my Social Media Marketing course for SMEs (unashamed plug). Originally designed and compiled in 2015, I was astounded how much of the social media landscape has evolved in just over 3 years. The 6 week process put me back on another journey of relearning and development. It reminds me again of how important our continuous learning is to both ourselves, our businesses and more importantly our clients.
Continuous Professional Development (CPD), is a term I became more familiar with 10 years ago. At the time, whilst working on an eLearning platform for H2 Learning, as we developed a CPD program for Secondary School teachers. One of the main incentives, teachers got for completing the course, was Extra Personal Vacation (EPV) Days. This is one pretty ingenious way of getting staff, to keep up-to-date, with their continuous development. Over the years, my knowledge and awareness of the term CPD, is something I associate with certain professional industries, such as, Engineering, Architecture, Teaching, Medical Practitioners and the sort. Nevertheless, what incentive motivates the other 60% or so of the workforce to keep their own CPD a priority? I continuously meet CEOs who tell me, how they are too busy to stop, to take up a course or for things like their mindfulness or well-being. Do they find the time, to continue to be competent in their professions? This is what CPD is all about.
CPD ensures that you maintain and enhance the knowledge and skills you need to deliver a professional service to your customers, clients and the community.
In the past 2 years, I’ve personally been going through quite a bit of development, returning to do a Masters in Design Innovation in 2017 and I’m currently doing a Leadership and Management course . My reasons are based on some self-reflection in 2016/2017, that identified that there were some important changes needed. So, definitely, when the need arises, we can be pushed to adapt and grow. Although, what happens, when you are pottering along, business is going well and keeping you busy? How do you ensure you are still, ‘top of your game’? What are the benefits when you already have enough business? Also, where do you find the time?
Let’s begin by looking at the some of the main reason and benefits for CPD:
- Refines your skills and intellect whilst filling in any knowledge gaps.
- Keeps your qualifications up to date – in this ever changing world, is your previous learning obsolete and are your skills still relevant?
- The opportunity for progressing or redirection your career. This in-turn can increase your salary and offer greater job security.
- Continuous learning becomes a process you will become acquainted with the more regularly you learn and improve, instilling an independent learning mindset.
- Prospective and current clients can see your dedication to self-improvement as healthy and ambitious qualities.
- Increases your confidence around change – your CPD helps you keep your finger on the pulse and allows you to adapt for the future.
- Provides you and your business the opportunity to always offer your clients, the latest and most valuable up-to-date version of your service/product.
To give you an idea of the value of just one of the facts I’ve learned, by redeveloping my learning. I imagine something that every business can benefit from. Social Messaging, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, have overtaken social media use with a 15.5% annual growth. What this means to your business is.
Consumers are using messaging to ask businesses questions, make appointments and purchases, and provide feedback.
- 53% would rather message than call a business for customer service.
- 61% like receiving personalised messages on messenger app from businesses.
- More than 50% prefer shopping with a business they can message.
I’m as guilty as the next person, in keeping myself abreast of change. I had absolutely no idea before I began this manual on so many of the changes in social media, just like the one above. Although the benefits are really quite valuable. When was the last time you did a skill refresh? How often do you research and learn about changes in your industry? What are your competitors doing in a more innovative way than you? Perhaps, a better way to put it, what is the cost to you and your clients of not continuing your professional development?
Now is good time to stop and ask yourself, how can I design my own CPD? How many hours per month will I give to my own going development and learning? What will be the ROI on scheduling this into my calendar? Maybe it begins today, by asking yourself, how well you are up-to-date in your use of social media marketing. Were the honest answer to be, I’m not really sure. Start by booking my one day course, “The Nutshell in Social Media Marketing” and begin to take, one step, in the right direction.