I started my foray into Social Media almost 5 years ago when I created my initial LinkedIn profile. Today, I am posting regular updates not only on LinkedIn but also Twitter, Facebook and Wordpress blogs. When I mention this to my friends and colleagues, they say “Who has time for that?” or “That’s for teenagers to follow the likes of Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber.” I initially thought the same thing, but now after almost 3 years of Tweeting, I finally figured out the secret (and reasons) for using Social Media. The key is to have a PLAN for leveraging these new technologies. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I gain from having a presence on Facebook?
- How can I use LinkedIn for more than just “connecting” to people?
- Should I Tweet or just be a follower?
- Do I have anything to share on a blog that others would be interested in?
I would be lying if I told you that I had all these things figured out when I started my journey into the world of Social Media. Quite honestly, being the extrovert that I am, I just enjoyed interacting with people virtually as an extension of my live discussions. Although I have not figured it all out yet, it’s making more sense as I use Social Media more. Now that I have shed my corporate affiliation and struck out on my own as a business owner, master networker and learning & development contractor, it has becoming more evident that if used correctly, Social Media is one of the most effective and least expensive ways to brand yourself and gain attention. So you say, I’m not “selling” anything or need to “brand” myself. In reality during these times of constant change and perpetual layoffs, one always has to be focused on promoting him/herself and becoming known. Google your name and see what comes up. When you apply for a job or propose a talk for a conference, don’t you think the folks who are considering engaging you are doing just that. If you consider the questions above, before striking out in the world of Social Media you may find that your reasons for Tweeting, blogging, posting on Facebook and Link(ing)In could change. On the other hand you might realize that there is no reason for you to participate in these efforts and save yourself a lot of time. If you decide you want to learn more about creating or improving your Social Media presence then look for me in any of the Social Media places I “hang out” as I post more insights and ideas as part of my Social Media Tip Parade.