I hear a lot from people, both in my professional and personal world, that they don’t know what to do with social media. They don’t have the time. They don’t know what to write. They don’t know where to start.
Social media is called social for a reason. It’s meant to illicit two-way (or more) conversations.
What makes social media great is that you can connect with just about anyone, at anytime, from just about any part of the world.
I once sent DVDs for a nonprofit organization I worked for in Portland, Maine to a town in Denmark because someone read a blog post I wrote. I’ve connected with leaders in various industries through social media and tweeted with Jeremy Roenick during an NHL game. I’ve even met real live people through social media.
You get out what you put into social media.
Can social media be a time suck? Sure it can. But it can also help you find long, lost friends, re-connect with old colleagues, join groups of like-minded individuals or gain business leads. There are communities out there that you never knew existed. The possibilities are endless really.
There’s no one specific purpose for social media besides connecting through conversations and sharing content with other people.
To me, the art of social media is in the messages you send out. This is where the true personality of an individual or organization comes out. You might be smart, informative or just plain silly. It’s the authentic message that gets through.
The science side of social media is figuring out where to put those messages and crafting them specifically for that particular audience in order to get the best response. (And here I do mean best response rather than biggest. I’m much more into quality connections with people and organizations vs. collecting friends, fans and followers.)
With so many social media options out there – Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, blogs, LinkedIn, Yelp, etc. – it’s easy to get overwhelmed. It may take some time to figure out where you or your company belongs in the bigger picture.
The fun part, in my opinion, is testing out the waters. Throwing some content out there and seeing what sticks with people. (And don’t be insulted if that amazing blog post you wrote that took you over 2 hours to complete gets almost no page views, while the quick one you haphazardly posted with some fun pics gets a ton of comments. That’s the name of the game.)
I think the biggest mistake people make is getting into a bunch of social media platforms all at once.
Start with the platform that makes most sense to you and see what happens. You just might find a really great use for it.
What are your thoughts on social media?