who-am-IAre you comfortable with all that you know about social media? Is your knowledge a basis for your foundation? Or is what you know built from all of the tips and tricks that you’ve learned?  There are two very important “knows” that I want to talk about here today:  Knowing who you are, and knowing what you want.

In social media, becoming sidetracked by all of the hype, press, and advice that abound isn’t difficult to do. It’s even easier to get lost in all of the tools, applications, and endless offerings. At the core and crux of it though, there’s only you.  Presenting one’s self well, and having defined goals, these seem to be exceptions, and sadly, not the rule when we look at many social media campaigns.

Lisa Barone wrote a great article that touched on this, and she went on to explain creating a plan for social media. Clear focus on your desired outcome, and establishing your expectations are paramount. Without this as a starting point, how will you measure anything at all? With no way to measure your successes or failures, what will you point to in order to explain or duplicate your results?

Is your only plan so far to just jump in? Sink or swim… come what may? This attitude and approach will only produce frustration. It’s not as if we’re investigating an interesting recreation, or playing some new game. This is our business that we’re talking about, the means by which we feed our families! Having a plan and knowing what to expect, these are preparations that will serve us well in the things we aspire to. Knowing what we want is a very important piece of the puzzle.

In suggesting that you know yourself, the “self” I’m referring to is the self that you represent in the social circles where your voice, your image, and your bio are present. This has to be consistent, solid, and unwavering. It doesn’t matter if you are there simply as yourself, if you’re acting as a company, or as a representative from within a company…”to thine own self be true” would make an apt motto. In many ways, you are your brand. Once you’ve firmly established yourself among the many digital miles and outposts that exist, it’s a near impossibility to go out and issue a total recall. Establish your brand firmly and intentionally.

Now, more than ever, there are no excuses for setting out ill-prepared. There are countless case studies, and one can find mentors and gurus quite easily anymore. Utilizing these resources is a piece of my own plan. I think that it makes an excellent best practice to consider for anyone else involved in social media as well.

Put yourself into your social media efforts, and have a great plan. Know what it is that you hope to achieve. Doing business using social media is just that. If you were to remove yourself and your plans from your business, what‘s left to build upon? If you are just starting out, now is the perfect time to be thinking about these things. If you’re already involved, it’s not too late go out and set your house in order, but sooner rather than later seems good to me if this is the case.

Have you enjoyed great success? I’d love to hear about the things built into your plan that helped. If you’ve made mistakes at the planning level, and are willing to share, I’d love to hear about this as well.

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