Social Media Baby Steps Don’t Have To Be Difficult

Yesterday evening I gave a presentation on “Maximising Social Media for Business” to a diverse group of communicators with the Halton-Peel Communicators’ Association.

As I moved through the presentation, I saw signs that people might be getting a little overwhelmed by the volume of information and tools I was throwing at them. 

My message to them, and to anyone dipping their toe into the social media waters, is:

It doesn’t have to be difficult.

While I like to recommend a gradual process of listening, then engaging, then developing and publishing, the first of those steps can be accomplished in just a few minutes per day and in a few simple steps.

  1. Go to Google Reader (or any RSS reader) and sign up for an account (it’s free!)
  2. Go to Technorati or Google Blogsearch and plug in your name, your company’s name, your hobby or anything that interests you
  3. Subscribe to the results of that search in Google Reader (in Technorati the link is at the top-right of the results column; in Google Blog Search it’s on the left of the results)
  4. Spend a few minutes every day reading what people are saying on your topics. Learn who the key influencers are; where they are present; and what they are talking about
  5. Once you’re comfortable, begin to comment on influencers’ sites

There – in just a few minutes per day, you’ve taken your first steps into social media.

Make sense?

  • Dave,

    Nice of you to put the brakes on the speeding social media car we’re all driving, and remind people new to this that it doesn’t have to be scary or overwhelming. This is an easy way to begin learning the tools of the social media trade. Hope this helps the incoming crowd!

    Ken

  • Very calming advice Dave. 🙂 I think a number of people new to social media feel like they have to get caught up on everything they’ve missed in the past 5 years. But a lot has happened, both in the industry and with the tools around us.

    It would be like realizing you need a law degree, so you go to school and try to learn it all in a week. Not only can it not be done, but it would prove to be a very frustrating and potentially damaging experience… especially if you decided to practice law on your first day. 🙂

    Baby steps to start with, don’t worry about being a bit behind… everybody else is too. With a bit of knowledge learned each day, the snowball effect will kick in soon enough and you’ll be on your way.

    Did I just rhyme that last bit there? #rhymingfriday

  • Monique

    I love the advice you give on this site. I am currently working in HR at a boutique investment bank, but I’m trying to make my way back into communications and your posts have been so helpful in getting me back up to speed. Thanks!

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  • Dave, your presentation last night was fabulous. You covered (almost) everything and there was no way you could have gone into more detail or omit anything in 2 hours.

    Those that are new to social media will have to do some learning on their own now. I am new to some things, like Twitter but I was mesmerised by live demonstration projected on the wall of how it works in real-time. Needless to say, I singed up this morning and started following some people, I know. In no time some people started following me. I felt, it created a bit of pressure not to disappoint them. Following your advise, I am going to take a deep breath and overcome the anxiety.

    Thanks for enlightening us last night.

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  • I think that Google Reader is wonderful! I am new to the social media scene and it really helps me to organize all of the things I have going on online. Social media can be overwhelming but its a great way to connect with others online!

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  • Er Björn

    This is great. I had the same problem. Was talking way over the heads of the audience and while I thought it was pretty straightforward the feedback was that I was just too technical. Your idea here was just what I needed to step back and take another look at how I introduce this to others. Thanks!