Getting Started with Social Media

Seth Godin just published an excellent post titled, Is it too late to catch up? In it, he outlines a strategy for companies that have let the web and social media completely pass them by. In truth, I can’t imagine there are too many companies that are in this boat, but that doesn’t matter, his suggestions are worth a look no matter what your situation is.

I particularly like his last two points:

  • Don’t have any meetings about your web strategy. Just do stuff. First you have to fail, then you can improve.
  • Refuse to cede the work to consultants. You don’t outsource your drill press or your bookkeeping or your product design. If you’re going to catch up, you must (all of you) get good at this, and you only accomplish that by doing it.

Ultimately, your web presence and your interactions in social media must be part of the fabric of your organization’s culture. You cannot outsource your culture, nor can you build it by “strategizing.” It needs to come from the way you approach your business and from your day-to-day actions. Anything else will be false and will be perceived as false by your customers. Godin’s post provides a clear, specific path to creating an authentic, useful web and social media presence.

I would add one more point to Godin’s list, courtesy of Anne Gentle, author of Conversation and Community: The Social Web for Documentation:

  • Listen: Use Google Alerts, twitter search, etc., to find out what people are saying about your company and to discover existing communities of interest around your company and products. Then, before you participate in any way, listen to what is being said. That way, as you begin to participate, you will know what the style is for that community and how you can best interact with it.

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