We’re getting serious finally about big change fast, and I’m being asked a lot about finding the value in social tools and how to manage the noise.
The key point to remember is that social media is not one size fits all. What works for me, the company president or your nephew in college may not hold the greatest value for you. Experimentation is the point.
You have three tasks when you jump into social media:
- Try: Sign up and use a social network or two. Often recommended around here are Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Learn the ropes. Figure out how to upload a photo, embed a video, create a link. Read blogs and comment there. Start your own blog, link out often and use trackbacks to promote your blog around the Internet. Update your e-mail signature with links to your social networking profiles. Listen to what people in your network say about these and other tools, and then try their recommendations.
- Weed: Let go of the tools that don’t add value or relevance to your conversations and information gathering for tools that do. Or maybe the tool’s just fine, but some of the people you’re following in a particular network are not adding value. Let go of them. It’s OK, and it’s normal. Value is determined by the individual. (And it’ll help you understand why it’s so difficult to connect with our customers, who are making their own value judgments, too.)
- Share: Tell others what you’ve learned and recommend the tools you like. Tell folks why you like those tools and how you use them (i.e., personal vs. professional social networks. Yes, Virginia, there is a difference.) Teach a co-worker how to add a link to an e-mail signature or embed a slideshow. Mind you, your favorite tools won’t work for everyone, but it gives them a place to start, too.
Last point, it’s not an age thing. Anyone can learn and use social media, and then teach it. If you’re too young and hip to teach it, or too old to learn it, you’re part of the problem.
Tomorrow: Some tools for starting your social media toolbox.