My social media adventure began last autumn after having attended a breakfast lecture arranged by a media monitoring provider. During the event there was a presentation of “the Conversation Prism”, developed by Brian Solis and Jesse Thomas. It really changed my perspective on how the web could be used.
In my professional life I have worked with web channels/tools like e.g. media websites and press archives, image archives, electronic distribution, media monitoring and statistic tools.
The more I got into the web (no pun intended) I realized that a number of my peers did not really utilise the media to its full potential. Instead they published PDF files of existing sales literature on the web. Needless to say I used to do the same, but not anymore!
My first step
I was familiar with the blog-sphere and channels like YouTube as well as social and niche networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. However, I knew next to nothing about things like e.g. crowdsourced content, wikis, location tools, online document sharing and social bookmarks. Initially it felt a bit overwhelming, but after some time of online research things began to clear up.
Since my interest in social media was personal it had to be confined to off work hours. Due to this fact and my being eager to begin I threw myself into it without really doing my homework as good as I could have.
I had done some research and sketched a rough idea on what channels I would like to use and how I imagined they could interact. The tools/channels I chose for dialogue and interaction were LinkedIn, Twitter, flickr, del.icio.us, YouTube and WordPress.
This blog is made with WordPress. I was curious about its potential. It also suits my way of working better than previous platforms tried. I used to run a music blog in Swedish using Blogger. Besides the old blog I also had profiles on LinkedIn and Facebook as well an unused YouTube account, but no plan and little interaction.
Looking back at things I should probably have begun with this blog (It is good to have something to share. This opens up to discussions and opportunities to listen). Instead my first step was the networking part. Among others I joined a couple of LinkedIn groups on PR and B2B marketing.
I also set up an account on Twitter and began to interact with others by asking questions, listening and sharing experience and information. In my opinion the advantage of Twitter is easy of use and the fact that it is not very time consuming (although a bit addictive).
The flickr site was pretty self explanatory. I use it to share images. The YouTube account is still a bit of a sorrow. I have one video there but intend to add more in the shape of brief lessons on different topics. In the meantime I share links to videos I find interesting.
Social bookmarks were uncharted country to me. I found del.icio.us a good way for me to share links with friends without sending e-mails every time I found interesting texts that I wanted to share.
Through Twitter I made connections and gained a following. I have learned and continue to learn a lot from other Twitter users. Thanks to them I have gained new knowledge about navigating the social media map and.
To be continued
Some of you have witnessed my first steps using social media. A lot of you have supported, guided and inspired me. I have no idea what lies ahead, but I am looking forward to interesting conversations and interaction with you.
A few things to consider:
- Prepare, prepare, prepare…. There are many exciting tools to use and even more conversations to join. However, what are the ones supporting your brand and your business? Do your homework, search info, enter dialogue, benchmark, plan and set your strategy.
- Social media requires commitment. Make sure you have the necessary resources (time, money and people) to meet your goals. It is not a dialogue if you reply to comments once a month.
- One way to understand social media is to compare it to the effects of channels you know like e.g. advertisements, magazines, TV, photos, letters (real ones on paper) etc.
- It’s a dialogue. Please treat people with respect.
Having worked within communications for almost fifteen years (Mostly journalism, PR and marcom) I have gradually moved into the realm of the web and its opportunities and challenges. Working in a B2B environment the web was not really prioritised until a few years ago. Before that it was not seen as a business tool, more of a display window.