At the risk of sounding obtuse, it only occurred to me a couple of days ago, that if you surround yourself with social media gurus and early adopters, you tend to start thinking you are behind the curve. And the more you read blogs and white papers and struggle to catch up, the further behind you feel yourself falling. This vicious circle has been going on in my life for a little over a year and I’m not too proud to admit, I’m tired.
So in order to realign the planets and reduce some stress, let me share my epiphany:
- Good news, if you are reading this blog, you are already ahead of the curve. When I’m out in the “real world” (the non-electronic world where you look people in the eye), I find that most people who do participate in social media do so for personal reasons–to stay in touch with family or friends–not to make money or build their business.
- You don’t have to belong to every social media network on the web to be effective. In fact you are probably far better off belonging to just one or two and spending lots of time on them. We all know people who have signed up for LinkedIn or Twitter and have never returned to that site again. It doesn’t help their credibility at all, in fact it hurts it.
- Never forsake your “real world” relationships for the sake of your social media relationships. In a perfect world they would actually be one and the same i.e. you would actually have met and would know everyone on your friends list. But since we live in an imperfect world, let me just point out that if your parent, spouse, partner or child says something like, “you’re always on your computer” take it as a big hint and log off right now! Business relationships are the same way, you need to spend some non-social media time nurturing them.
- A clear-cut vision is the key to succeeding with social media. If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll never know when you’ve arrived. So set your goals, be disciplined about your commitment and go forth and do good things. It can be something as small as increasing your Google ranking or something as large as having a New York Times Best Seller.
- Don’t ever stop reading and learning more. But, by the same token, don’t measure yourself against all the social media giants, you’ll lose your sanity. Wherever you are today on the social media continuum is just fine. If you want to pursue social media just for “funsies” that’s OK. If you want to use it to build your business, then be willing to help out others who may not be as far along as you are. That’s the best way to succeed anyway.