If ever you run into me at a conference, or out with some of the other #yyc Twitter folk, I’ll have all sorts of good reasons for you to join Twitter (or start a blog, or Facebook group or LinkedIn account). I may even get you to sign up. I love this stuff, I love talking about it, using it, seeing opportunity after opportunity come up, cheering for those with successes, learning from those with failures.
When I first got started in the online social media realm (which wasn’t that long ago), there was some ruffled feathers (not mine, nor did I cause them) over people calling themselves social media experts, and other contributors calling these people out. There have been discussions about whether there are even social media experts, what constitutes an expert or if we should even be using the term ‘expert’ at all. The latest post I’ve read, Beware the Social Media Charlatans cautions you to take all of these ‘experts’ with a grain of salt. I agree.
I think, if you want to get started in the social media realm, either as an individual or as a business, you need to ask one question:
Does this make sense for me/my company?
If you can see an obvious benefit, then yes, absolutely, jump in! We’d be glad to have you. But if you cannot see a clear cut benefit to using social media, maybe it’s not the right time for you. Maybe you need to spend some time lurking and listening to fully appreciate the opportunity it can bring or maybe, and I cringe at these words myself… but maybe it just won’t work for you.
There are so many factors at play in online social interactions that really are barriers to entry for a lot of folk. Knowing the tools, having the time to devote to listening, conversing, sharing information… it’s a lot of hard work and you will only get out of it what you can put into it.
So, if you have the time, the resources, and a clear vision of what you think you can gain from this… kudos. I’ll be excited to read about your experiences and successes. But if you’re still fuzzy on where the benefit can come in for you, I suggest you talk to some people using these tools first… perhaps not the social media cheerleaders out there, but just the real day to day people who can maintain an impartial view. But where do you find those people? Well… in the social media realm of course.