I am writing this because of a giggle I had with a friend during a normally serious business session. My friend Charlotte, who works for a great local design and marketing company Upanup Studios, suggested that we should host a session on all the “secret” rules of social media. You know the ones. Don’t use a profile pic from 10 years ago because you just don’t look like that anymore. Please. Never post pics from personal adventures in online places where your entertaining poses might be seen as less than professional and so on. But do we really need to be told all these secrets? Apparently so – there is a booming business for self proclaimed experts.
I often think we have created this culture of social media experts and gurus around fear. Fear we won’t know what to say, fear we will cause embarrassment to the organization we work or volunteer for, fear we will look ….stupid.
Ironically – when I am invited to talk about social media I feel it is my duty to tell everyone that we are all learning about this channel/tool, some are faster or more enthusiastic than others. My role is to help them understand their own capacity. Social media is the new frontier and a million cowboys riding from virtual town to town selling their protection from our fears.
So the biggest secret I can share about social media is that it is not a mysterious force – just a fantastic opportunity to listen and communicate on a new level. Don’t be afraid to select how you will use it. Not everyone has to be on Facebook or Pinterest. Maybe you can focus your staff time and budgets more effectively by using one based on your target audience or maybe you can create a truly committed community without taking a step outside your office. Fear of the unknown hurts us – learning how to use social media empowers you to own the medium and enjoy the ride. But please, take down your albums of “Dress Like a Star Trek Character Day”. You will thank me for it.