Where are you on the social media scale? Savvy? Successful? Or scared?
If you put yourself in the third category, you’re in good company. So many of the business owners and solo professionals I meet confide that they are afraid of social media. That fear is holding them back from using a valuable tool that could help them grow their business. And here’s the good news: you don’t have to be afraid.
Fear #1: Social Media is Unfamiliar. One way to look at social media that takes some of the fear away is to think of it as a tool like your telephone, mailbox or email. None of those are very scary, right? They’re all tools we use to connect with other people, and to have other people connect with us. Used improperly, we get telemarketer phone calls, junk mail and spam. But used correctly, we hear from friends, family and clients, receive valuable materials, and reach people around the world.
Social media is one more way to make that connection, to deliver or receive valuable information, and to reach people around the block and around the world.
Fear #2: Social Media Will Take Up All My Time. Not if you plan your work and work your plan. Think of it this way: if you walk into a store to browse, you could wander around for an hour. But if you go in knowing exactly what you want to buy, you can be in and out in 15 minutes. It’s the same with social media. Before you log on, have one or two strategic actions you want to accomplish, go do them, and log off. If there are things that catch your eye that aren’t business-related, save them for your lunch hour or evening.
Fear #3: I Might Meet Weird Strangers on Social Media. Well, you might meet weird strangers at the supermarket, too. However, on social media, you can choose whose invitations to accept, and if someone you’ve followed or friended turns out not be someone you want to associate with, you can easily unfriend them. Imagine social media as a huge conference. You go to meet new people, but if you meet someone you don’t like, you can throw out their business card. Social media is a big, global conference where you can meet amazing new people, and if you don’t like someone, you don’t have to remain in contact with them.
Fear #4: I Don’t Know What to Say on Social Media. Social media is a fantastic way to encourage, educate, motivate, inspire, inform and support other people. If you focus on sharing helpful information, suggesting resources, sharing inspiring or motivating quotes/photos, and throwing in the occasional link to an interesting article, or funny G-rated video or book title, you’ve gone a long way toward offering useful, helpful, and connection-building content.