The only Facebook company page I ever set up looks the same now as when I left the company three years ago. They’re down to 26 likes. Most are my relatives, who were nice enough to like the page at my request, just to see what happened.
I’m not really a Facebook guy. I have about 100 friends. My Facebook name (please don’t report this TOS violation) is Cousin Barrett. That’s because most of the 100 are cousins, aunts, uncles, other distant relations, people with whom I went to school and whose wedding I was in.
On the other hand, I was using social before it was called social.
I used AOL chat rooms in the early 90s for international soccer discussions and computer advice from Kim Komando.
I became addicted to the BigSoccer.com forums in 2000, and met my virtual soccer buddies in person at World Cup qualifiers.
I toyed with MySpace, had an early Facebook account, killed it (it took months to die), started a new one, and have an average presence on LinkedIn.
I never “check in” anywhere. Foursquare? Forget it. I don’t want people knowing when I’m not home.
I use Google+ but I’m not sure why, though I hear the hangouts are cool.
I have accounts at Instagram, Stumbleupon, Pinterest, YouTube, Flickr, Plaxo, Hootsuite and Jugnoo and probably a few others, but mostly I just dip my toe in.
Spottify? Reddit? Digg?
Who has time for it all?
I love Twitter, but I rarely use it on my iPhone.
I have pals (you know who you are) who have a tough time talking face-to-face because they’re responding to personal and business tweets. They’re building something exciting. But I wouldn’t want to be that tied to my phone.
Then there’s this little blog.
The fact is, social media has embedded itself into my life, and probably yours.
So, do you have to be an “expert” to use it for business? Maybe.
Or maybe it’s the reverse: If you use social media for business, you have a chance to develop expertise.
You don’t need to be certified, verified, validated, endorsed or accredited, though this kind of education can certainly help. You do need to think socially.
Know what you’re trying to accomplish and why. Figure out which social networks and tools best fit your needs. Observe and listen on the networks, and explore the tools.
Look for examples of companies your size or in your industry that do social media well. Find examples that make you feel something, and take a lesson.
Seek the advice of experts, but listen with a pinch of skepticism. Social media as an effective business tool is still in its infancy. Or maybe it’s a toddler. Best practices are still being developed.
The best way to learn is to do.
A great social media guy in my town, Mike Ellis, wrote this for his Twitter profile: “I’m NOT #SocialMedia guru or expert because I’m not finished learning.” That’s perfect, Mike.
Like I said, it’s been eons in Internet time since I set up a Facebook company page. But I’m planning to do more social for business. I’m not 100% sure about what it will entail. But at this point in history, that’s the beauty of social.
What about your own journey in social media – in your personal life and for business? How long have you been at it? What have you learned? Are you an expert?