I recently read a blog by the incomparable Mark Schaefer. It was something of a clarion call to marketers to stop making excuses and make social media a proper undertaking in your business.

It’s called ‘Your social media strategy for 2013: Grow a pair!‘ Read the post now, and pop back. For anyone that has spent any time working in and around social media it will ring all sorts of bells! Many of the people characterised therein are very familiar.

But it did make me think

What if you haven’t got a clue? 

English: Infographic on how Social Media are b...
If you are new to social media, you are not alone!  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are people for whom social media is a complete mystery. They don’t have a personal Facebook profile much less a social media strategy for their business. I know its hard to believe in this day and age, but plenty of people are ‘Luddites’ when it comes to this stuff.

So here is my guide for you if you fall into this category and you are running a business. Its based on my own experiences with social media and how I taught myself the basics. Hopefully, this will help you get into the swing of things and begin to understand this most mystifying of marketing topics.

Jump right in! 

Start small, but whatever you do, start!

I would advise as a starting point the much misunderstood Twitter. But given that there are about a billion people on Facebook, you might also want to consider going there too? If you want to concentrate on the business side of things you won’t go far wrong with LinkedIn. Its a sort of Facebook but for work stuff.

There’s loads of others but start with the market leaders.

The point here is that you will learn as you go along, and LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are easy to get into and easy to use. They’ll also quickly assuage your safety and privacy concerns with their well thought through and time and market tested T’s and C’s.

Find some of your favourite celebs or business guru’s, Brands, TV shows, or whatever. Stand up comedians are really  popular too. You’ll find sports teams and charities and all sorts in fact, everyone you can think of.

And of course there are the News feeds. BBC, Al Jazeera, CNN, Newspapers, magazines and periodicals and everything in between.

After a while of consuming all this lovely content, you may feel like responding to a comment or a joke you see, or having your say on a story from one of the News sites you follow. Congratulations, this is the beginning of your social journey!

Share and share alike

If your networks are as engaged in you as you are in them, then they are going to really appreciate the insights into your life you afford them by sharing.

English: Graph of social media activities
English: Graph of social media activities (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Don’t worry, pictures of babies, friends and pets are ubiquitous at this stage of your development. And sharing videos from you tube of the time Jimmy Page jammed with the Foo Fighters is one of the finest things you can do for the universe.

Before you know it, it will have become second nature for you to share everything!

You’ll read an interesting article and tweet it to your followers. You’ll hear a great song that brings back loads of memories and post it to Facebook. You’ll invite your friends to join you in an industry group on LinkedIn. Everywhere you go you’ll find interesting content and you will be compelled to share it with your online circle(s).

Publish and be damned

The next and final step, should you choose to take it, is one where you will become a content creator yourself. There are three basic ways to go:

1. A Blog – A written piece, an article, opinion or information piece on a topic of your choice

2. A Vlog – Or video blog. As above, but where the author appears on video – in its simplest form a head and shoulders, one camera, one take monologue.

3. A Podcast – As above, but with audio only.

They each have strengths and weaknesses I guess, but its important to understand which one suits you best. I prefer the long form written word of a blog. I have aspirations or perhaps pretensions is a better word, of becoming a writer, so its perfect practice for me to run a site like this.

A good friend of mine Aimee Bateman has followed in the footsteps of social media super stars like Gary Vanyerchuk and started her own series of recruitment themed vlogs for those looking for career coaching. They are very good and you can immediately see the benefit of this approach.

And one of the most famous of all social media marketing podcasts is probably this epic series ‘6 pixels of separation’ by Mitch Joel which has run for years.

What’s the point exactly? 

I’ve kind of glossed over it here, but I think the catalyst to all this sharing and content creation is the audience you build around yourself. They will define the content you will be sharing.

Audience
If you build it, they will come (Photo credit: thinkmedialabs)

You’ll no doubt start off ‘friend-ing’ family and close friends and work colleagues on Facebook, connecting with people you know on LinkedIn or following the same on Twitter. The social platforms themselves are set up to suggest other people they think it would be beneficial for you to connect with, and slowly but surely you will build yourself that audience.

If you are in business for yourself, you’ll now start to see how easy it is for a business blog or a social media presence of some sort to help you with what you do for a living.

With the respect you’ll now have for bloggers, you’ll realise the potential of positioning yourself as a thought leader in your field by writing your own blog or recording your own podcast. You’ll understand how to go about ‘recruiting’ fans for your business and your brand, and of course, sharing with them and interacting with them, will by now be second nature.

Having learned by basically immersing yourself slowly but surely into social media, the paralysis will disappear. You will have trust for this up to now impenetrable media and you will be raring to go.

It’s actually one of the most natural ways to communicate you could think of, and offers a brilliant opportunity for you and your business.

So don’t hold back, jump right in!

Share your tips for success for social media newbies in the comments below! Or email me directly on TonyDowling@completelyfreemarketingadvice.com

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2 thoughts on “How to do Social Media when you don’t know what Social Media is

  1. Cracking post chap & all great points.

    A few bits of advice I’d add are:
    1) Don’t worry about making mistakes; it’s about learning. Don’t use fear of mistakes stopping you from doing anything; that’s a cop out.

    2) Don’t panic that not everyone will like you/agree with you; Social Media is only mirroring the real world in that regard.

    3) Don’t hide your personality behind a shallower, more formal version of you. Obviously don’t treat Twitter like a drunken night out but, on the same score, don’t treat it as soberly as a funeral either. People buy from people.

    It’ll take time to get the hang of these but plough on through until you do. Don’t expect “results” for the first 6 months; just get your head down and have a go.

    Anyway, that’s my 2p

    Joel

    1. Great additions Joel, thanks.
      The point about fear is a very good one isn’t it? How many people hold back because they are afraid of the tech, or of making a mistake, or saying something that no one will want to hear!

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