Today’s guest post is written by Adam Justice.

I’m going to let you in on a secret: I’m not a social media marketing expert.

I’m a web developer and online marketing strategist.

When I first started in web development it was strictly for fun. When I learned how to code in HTML I thought it was cool, and within a few weeks I had made websites for family businesses, online friends, and pretty much anyone who could come to terms with free hosting.

The experience I gained from these first projects led me to charge for my work and it started me on a path where I strive to not only improve, but to also add new skills to my repertoire. 

There’s a low barrier to entry when it comes to providing online marketing services of any kind. Fifty percent of the population has a Facebook account, and basically all you have to do to call yourself a “social media expert” is know how to run one.

Some of the networking people I converse with will tell me, “You’re lucky to have design and marketing skills that apply to social media,” but I see it differently. The basic principles and concepts that good design and marketing are built upon work under most circumstances, and they’re going to outlast social media as we know it.

It’s important for millennials (I hate that word) to see value in building a strong foundation of basic principles when it comes to marketing. Our greatest strength has always been to think outside the box. Ironically, that is the same trait that gets so many companies who put their faith in my generation, into social media hot water.

Advice From One Millennial to Another

  1. Go to work for an established company first and get some experience.
  2. Know yourself. Know your abilities and don’t be afraid to acknowledge weaknesses.
  3. Spend some of the time you normally dedicate to reading blogs about “How To Optimize a LinkedIn Profile” by reading from a textbook instead.
  4. Measure twice and cut once. Make sure you are capable before taking on a new role. A bad set of circumstances could end your career as far as the Internet is concerned.

The worst thing you can do is discount the methodology and science upon which marketing is built. We may watch YouTube instead of cable now, but grocery stores still place products with the highest profit margins at eye level.

While a lot has changed, a lot has remained the same.

It seems extraordinarily self-serving when a 24-year old bills him or herself as a marketing expert, convincing consumers since Facebook wasn’t around five years ago, prior experience is not pertinent.

Basic PR and marketing skills are much more valuable when conducting business on Facebook than knowing how to send messages and comment. He or she is not only being dishonest with a potential customer, but also cheating themselves of the opportunity to  become better.

And if you are an expert with a ton of experience and a successful platform, go easy on the “fake gurus.”

Remember, everyone started somewhere…. And you wouldn’t look as good by comparison if you were up against contemporaries all day long!

Prosperity requires hard work and strategic thinking. By publishing all this content on marketing and social media, we’re just tempting others to give it a go as well.

What advice would you give to our generation?

Adam Justice is a veteran web developer, entrepreneur, and online journalist. He is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in the areas on technology, politics and autos, and is co-founder and president of Elkhorn Media. You can find out more about Adam here.