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How to: Start Using Social Media

August 25, 2010

Jumping into using social media can seem rather daunting. The most common reason I’ve heard from people who don’t want to use it is that they don’t know how to get started.

Just like with anything, there is a learning curve associated with something new. It’s a matter of devoting the time to teach yourself how to use it. That’s the easy part, honestly. There are so many step-by-step instructions out there that you will have more than enough information to help you get going.

There are 5 steps that I believe must be taken before you decide to venture out into social media. None of these are straight steps. They are just things that you have to figure out before you start using social media for your business.

1. Establish your need. Before you create a Facebook or Twitter account or start a blog, you need to make sure the need is there. That your need for it is there. Answer the questions: What will I do with it? How will I use it? Who will benefit from this? Who is my target audience?

2. Make sure you have the time. You can’t just start using social media then never touch it again. Nothing annoys users more than going to a Facebook page that hasn’t been updated in 6 months. Or a blog that’s newest post is from 4 months ago. You’ve got to make sure you have the time to invest into it.

3. Figure out which networks work best for you. Not everyone can use Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Stumbleupon, Yelp, Flickr, LinkedIn, Blogs. You have to decide which social networks work best for you. There is plenty of information out there to help you decide which will work best for you and your business needs.

4. Get out there. Don’t be scared. Jump right in. Put yourself out there in the social networks you decide to use and go for it.

5. Finally, interact. That’s what it’s all about honestly. Interacting with the users of the social media networks. They’re on these networks to talk and so talk back to them. Engage with them.

There you go; if you can complete all of those steps, I think you’ll be on the right path to getting started in social media. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below, and I’ll get back to you.

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