1.You have lots of choices. Besides the big ones (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, You Tube) there are many other more narrowly focused channels or platforms that build on your personal interests or communication style, for example:
- If you are an avid reader, or would like to read more and share your thoughts about what you read – Goodreads is a great choice. I recently had an author contact me to share my thoughts in a forum on his book that I had posted as read.
- Music lovers rank Pandora among their top choices. The best thing about Pandora is that it takes what you already like and finds similar acts. Users give songs a thumbs-up or thumbs-down rating, which is taken into account in future song selections.
- Pinterest has become an outpost for crafters and collectors of good ideas. Here you create your own bulletin board and, like tearing pages from a magazine, you pin items that you like up on your board. People can follow you or borrow your “pins.”
2.Social media can play an important role in your business marketing and development. Know, however, that there are rules of thumb that guide how you can effectively use your personal network to further your business goals in social media. It is essential to understand that in most cases your success in business is built on your personal brand even if you are working within a corporate setting. Done right, your personal brand identity is nurtured, developed and communicated through personal interactions – social media is a great place to make that happen.
3.Social media can help you stay connected. If you are feeling isolated, or in a rut, social media can provide a splendid array of potential conversations and experiences. Social media is all about sharing and there are lots of opportunities to share a wealth of information with your online community: Some like to share compelling quotes, topical news stories, important social issues and causes, or just the latest on what is happening in their own lives. It is all at your fingertips with social media.
4.You never know when you will truly need social media. For example:
- You finally get around to writing that book. You find out that the publisher expects you to have a robust network in social media (the equivalent of a big up-to-date rolodex) in order to promote your book, but you have just 15 Facebook friends and you haven’t interacted with any of them since your daughter set you up on Facebook two years ago.
- Maybe you have a cause or local charity that is really important to you. You would like to spread the word about this important cause, but of course, you have just those 15 friends that don’t know you are there because you haven’t interacted.
- You have a family crisis and need to mobilize your friends to help. In this instance a social media network can be invaluable. Recently a friend in my social network needed to tap his network – the generosity of spirit and willingness to help was incredible and certainly contributed to a happy outcome to what could have been a disastrous situation.
The good news is that you can take this at your own speed. Maybe you look and listen for a while to see what kinds of conversations are going on and what is being shared. Then, gradually, like stepping into a conversation group at a party or networking event, you can begin to do the online version of smiling and nodding – “hit the like button” to let the speaker know that you are paying attention; before long you will be part of the conversation making comments and responding to others.
Among the criticisms of social media are that it can be a colossal time suck. That doesn’t necessarily have to be true. You can easily manage a modest amount of time, especially if you set some consistently applied incremental goals to keep you moving toward building your network.
If you are still anxious about navigating through social media know that most social media platforms have easy to use tutorials on how to set up your account or profile, and the internet is full of how-to articles to help you out. Just type your question in the search bar (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) and you will have all sorts of answers.
Choose social media to enhance your life and maintain connections. Social media certainly does not take the place of real life, carbon-based, human connections but, done right, it can make your life better and richer in all its forms.
My best to you – Katie Donovan