Getting Comfortable on the Social Web

hands inYou know you should put yourself out there, that you might find true happiness and develop positive relationships, but you just don't feel motivated or prepared. No, we're not talking about dating; we're talking about an equally scary monster: social media.

Sure, setting up a personal Facebook account and sharing funny pictures of your dog is easy. But what about your business? How do you deal with all the requests, the occasional negative comments, all the LOLs and OMGs and other bad social media grammar? And staying connected 24/7? It's not like you're checking into Twitter and Facebook between your last college course for the day and the keg party at your friend's house; you have a more-than-full-time job, a business that relies on you. Is social media really a priority?

Yes. Yes, it really, really is.

We understand social media can be intimidating. It seems like every day a new social tool is being released, and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon before you've even read the press release. It's enough to make your head spin! But finding your social media comfort zone is important to promoting your brand and keeping yourself at the forefront of your customers' minds.

Here are some things you can do to get more comfortable on the social web:

Make it a team effort.

Unless you're a one-man-band, chances are you have at least a few employees. And chances are these are people who have helped define your company's culture, are well-versed in the philosophies and strategies behind your business, and are enthusiastic advocates of the products and services you provide. Your employees are your evangelists, and they can help promote your brand through their own unique voices. And they can take the burden of managing 100% of your company's social media efforts off your shoulders. Rather than wishing on a star for last-minute blog topics, they can develop an editorial calendar to schedule who will write, when they'll publish, and what topics they'll cover. For example, if you run a private school, have your gym teacher talk about the upcoming football season. Your science teacher, he can write about the latest discoveries in the astronomy community.

Be yourself.

There are a lot of social media experts out there, and they're experts for a reason. They live and breathe social media, and they have a passion for what they do, just like you. Following their blogs and tweets, and undertaking specific chosen strategies is not by any means a bad thing. But copying everything they do and promoting them like a desperate groupie doesn't give you credibility .. nor does it boost your social presence. Read everything about social media you can get your hands on, but choose the approaches and tools that work best for you. Maybe FourSquare isn't the best use of your time, but blogging about industry tips may be of value to your followers.

Finding your own voice is also vital. Stuffy, corporate content won't work if you own a casual second-hand bookstore just like CIOs don't want to read juvenile, overly-salesy content. Write the way you would speak to a potential customer in person, and you won't get overlooked online.

Don't be afraid to ask for guidance!

If the idea of blogging, Tweeting, or Facebooking still makes you squirm, the best thing any writer worth his or her salt would tell you is to write anyway. Your goal isn't to become the end-all, be-all expert of all time in your field. It's to be expert enough to provide valuable, engaging content for potential and existing customers on a regular basis. Showing your enthusiasm for your trade can go a long way toward fomenting an authentic social experience with your fanbase.

Need some help getting started? At LyntonWeb, we love social media and can show you how to get the most out of Facebook, how to grow your Twitter following, and how to set up an editorial calendar to get those blog posts out on time. Contact us today to get started!

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