Flashback to 9:30 last night (screen should be getting wavy….now) I’m looking over a whole bunch of words and some really good links for tomorrow’s post. I scrap the whole thing. The more I put into it, the more confusing it gets.

Social media really can be confusing to deal with. Take it from me; it can also get talked to death. Sometimes, for me, just trying to explain things in a simple way approaches the impossible. Still, that is what I set out to do with this blog. With this in mind…

I’m calling a “Do over”. Please bear with me. I’m also guilty of settling on a “5 things…” title before I had a perfect plan for at least two of the questions I set out to answer. This forced my hand a bit; the upside is that my epiphany has likely forced an even simpler better answer.

This week I’m looking at:

  • “Can I get by without social media?”
  • “Is it really as easy as I’ve been led to believe?”
  • “Can it save my business?”
  • “Is it too late for my business to get involved?”
  • “Can’t someone else just do this for me?”
  • “Is it really as easy as I’ve been led to believe?”

    Social media: Brian Solis offered this to describe it back in 2007, and I like it: “Social media describes the online tools that people use to share content, profiles, opinions, insights, experiences, perspectives and media itself, thus facilitating conversations and interaction online between groups of people. These tools include blogs, message boards, podcasts, micro blogs, lifestreams, bookmarks, networks, communities, wikis, and vlogs.” 

    I’m not trying to over-simplify, or to be funny here, but all of this could be summarized by saying that “social media is typing and reading from a screen.” In this light, I couldn’t hold a straight face and tell you that this would be difficult for you.

    There is certainly a learning curve that comes with becoming adept at using the different sites, tools, and applications. Depending upon how savvy you were when you got here, this can be a challenge, or just another day. You can save yourself perpetual confusion later by refraining from diving in over your head now. By doing the necessary homework to identify the channels that will best serve your goals, you can save frustration later. Much of the perceived difficulty that is associated with social media comes from the vast array of tools and channels that are available. It can be very hard to choose.

    Using the tools, the typing and reading from a screen = just as easy as it sounds. Then we come to the more painful learning curve…now comes the hard part. Social media for many is their first real experience at being their own marketing department, PR firm, and sole lead generator, just to mention a few titles. I don’t think it’s a stretch at all to believe that a 25 year landscaping business owner can’t see the light. Hand him a golden nugget made up of every scrap of relevant information collected using the social web and he’ll likely dig a hole and bury it.

    This says nothing of the strategy that you’ll need to develop and refine. We haven’t even talked about setting goals and having clear objectives. What of tactics? If all of this language hasn’t been a part of your daily dialog, I won’t expect you to be the one who makes social media look easy for the rest of us. Deal?

    Social media, the concept, is pretty simple. Getting involved is pretty easy too, and then it tends to become increasingly difficult for many. Backtracking your way to a more manageable and comfortable place is where I see individuals and companies spending time and resources that could be better spent elsewhere. Getting in is quick, gathering information isn’t rocket science, and making use of the collected information shouldn’t be that hard. Not since the rush to pimp-out MySpace pages have I seen so many in such a frantic state. It’s really just as simple or as difficult as you make it, mostly all by yourself. You tell me. is it easy, or is it hard for you? Comments are always welcome.

    See the first post in this series  “Can I get by without social media?”

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