Since I started embracing social media in November 2009, I’ve been amazed at the amount of leads and responses I’ve had. I basically started with a network of nobody, and suddenly I’m getting referrals on LinkedIn…people saying “you need to meet and talk with Geoff”. It’s early days yet, but considering I only started two months ago I call it success far beyond what I expected.
A lot of folks in my expanding network are asking me on Skype about my “social media strategy” which I find amusing because they’re assuming I have one. I thought I’d set the record straight here, and explain the steps I’ve taken, and also be up front about the fact that I’m flying probably as blind as some of you reading this.
Decision 1: Read, read, read.
The nice thing about social media is that there’s no shortage of information on it readily available online. There’s so much, actually, that it can be a little overwhelming. I read blogs by people like Seth Godin, Scott Stratten and Chris Brogan. They’re people who have been famously successful in social media. I read books by people like Julien Smith, Malcolm Gladwell and Adam Penenberg. In short, I did a TON of research. My attitude was, I’m not looking for get-rich-quick; I’m looking for serious traction, and long term growth. So I’m willing to do what it takes to achieve that. There’s 5.9 billion people out there who are smarter than me (okay I don’t know the exact number LOL) and some of them will know better.
Results: I learned a TON. I’m nowhere remotely close to having any good answers to anything, but considering I started knowing exactly squat, I’m so much further along than when I first sat down.
Decision 2. I chose a platform and stuck to it.
There’s so many options for social media, I had no idea which platform to choose. I thought, well, I could just create a ton of accounts all over the place, but I’m not going to be able to manage them at all. Three quarters of them I don’t even know what they’re all about, and the ones left I’m only marginally clued in on how they even work.
I felt there was absolutely zero point in spreading myself all over the place so as to get crappy results with lots of tools. I decided to choose one platform, learn it, and I’d see about more later.
I was already on LinkedIn, but didn’t really know how to use it, so that account just kind of sat there for awhile. Everybody was talking about Twitter and Facebook as these crazy great ways to build a small business. Facebook I rejected because the last thing I wanted was to be tagged in some horribly compromising photograph that might somehow appear before anybody I was connected to. I don’t even know if that’s possible, to tell the truth, but I wasn’t taking that chance. I’m 40 now, but my 20s were, um, less than socially responsible.
That left Twitter.
I created an account, and just decided to lurk for a bit. I didn’t say anything, but just watched how people were using it. I was very lucky to follow Sharon Hayes, and I found she seemed to use Twitter masterfully. Tentatively, I started reaching out and joining conversations.
Among other things, my company sells project monitoring solutions. I provide tools and infrastructure that will give a backbone to communications, and make sure that all the data is accurate and current. That way project managers can make good decisions.
It made sense, then, that I should be talking to project managers. But what would I say?