Is Social (Media) For Me? Guidelines and Tips to Follow

22 06 2011

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Originally posted on AMA Baltimore‘s blog, Is Social (Media) For Me? Guidelines and Tips to Follow

In the last seven years, one of the hottest topics in marketing has been social media. With individuals and companies hosting conferences, presentations, and webinars, in addition to providing white papers there certainly has been plenty of buzz created on this topic. Within the social media arena, thought leaders have evolved such as Gary Vaynerchuk, founder of Winelibrary.com and author of The Thank You Economy as well as Crush It! Another thought leader who is well known is Pete Cashmore, the founder and CEO of Mashable, one of the most sought out social media, digital, and technology news sites on the web.

Facebook, which was launched by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004, currently has over 600 million users and is one of the most commonly used social media platforms out there with anyone from companies representing their brands to your grandmother having a profile page so she can view pictures of her grandkids and stay in touch with friends that she may have lost touch with over the years (yes, it is a bit weird to think that grandma may be checking out your profile page, isn’t it?). Users are able to create and update a profile, exchange messages, join interest groups, organize events, among many other features on this highly visited social media platform.

Twitter, which was founded and launched in 2006 by Jack Dorsey is a social networking and microblogging service with currently over 200 million users. This is a great way for individuals, young or old, to search queries, share information, and promote events in the fast-paced lifestyle which we currently live in.

LinkedIn, which was officially launched in 2003 is mainly used for professional networking and is known as a business-related social networking site with over 100 million users. LinkedIn enables users to connect with current and former co-workers, power your career by discovering connections, as well as a platform to share and answer questions with others within your network. This past May, after filing an initial public offering in January 2011, the IPO occurred. On the first day of trading, shares rose over 170% making this one of the largest first gainers since the dot-com bubble. Similarly to Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is rapidly growing at a constant rate.

Now, back to the topic of this post, Is Social (Media) For Me? Last week, a college friend of mine called me up to discuss marketing strategies for a few of his peers who have recently ventured off with their own start-up companies. Of course, the topic of social media came up in our discussion. They’re interested in spreading the word about their companies and brands, but prior to having a conversation about this I referenced a few points from Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends & Influence People. Since I read this book a couple of years ago, a handful of Carnegie’s insights steered me down a more successful path in my life. In part one of this book, Carnegie outlines secrets of success, Fundamental Techniques in Handling People. The three primary points which he describes in greater detail are:

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  3. Acquire in the other person an eager want.

All three of these are similar tips that you should follow in your everyday life when interacting with family, friends, and colleagues. These are all components which are extremely critical when diving into social media. By following these guidelines, in my honest opinion, you’ll become likeable and trustworthy both online and offline. My friend found this advice helpful, which he passed along to his peers. Isn’t it ironic how by lending my advice, I was able to effectively follow all three of Carnegie’s points?

Now, my question to you, Is Social (Media) For YOU? Ask yourself what your purpose is when engaging in social media? Are you looking to show appreciation, share events and news, acquire in others’ interests all while following Carnegie’s first point of not criticizing, condemning, or complaining? If you can’t answer these questions, social (media) may not be right for you at this time.

With any application in life, think about the benefits that you’ll gain from these experiences? Will social media enhance and provide you with a richer life? Are you comfortable with expressing gratitude for your family members on their birthday? Will viewing pictures of your grandkids make for a better day? Does promoting the latest product resonate with your customers?

These are all questions to consider – hopefully this post helped provide some answers to the initial question, Is Social (Media) For Me? Do you act the same way in your social settings as you do online? These platforms allow for transparency and once you post something online, chances are others will view it almost instantaneously. Are you at ease with this? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and opinions on this matter as well.

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