Today I had a conversation with an employee who is working 50 hours a week taking care of clients. She wants to learn as much as possible about social media, but doesn’t have the time to blog, create original content, or build a personal following on Twitter. So what should she do? How can she understand the dynamics of social media when clearly you have to participate to get it? Here’s what I suggested.
1. Use Twitter as a search and monitoring tool.
You can always watch. All you need to do is go to search.twitter.com and poke around. Search your clients, your company, competitive brand(s), relevant topics. That’s all you need to do to know what’s being said, who’s saying it and where it’s coming from. Without spending a lot of time you can at least get a sense of the conversation. You’ll be able to listen, learn and get smarter about whatever it is you want to get smarter about. Including social media.
2. Take the effortless approach to Twitter
Twitter is a time suck for people who feel compelled to generate a lot of content or who determine their self worth by how many followers they have. You don’t have to take that approach. Just get on, identify and follow the people who tweet, share, and post content related to your interests or your clients’ businesses. If and when you want, you can interact. If not, you can simply be the beneficiary of their thinking and the links that they post.
3. Create a Ning site for your own personal use
Just make one for your extended family. Or your colleagues at work. Or your book club. It’s free. It’s easy. And with no pressure you can take your time and learn how to re-arrange the appearance of your community site, post content, upload photos, and create links. Surprisingly, a lot of people who haven’t blogged don’t even know how to do that. Here’s a way to start, experiment, fumble around, and fail with no risk. You might even like it and end up being able to show clients how to do it.
4. Join Stumbleupon
Social bookmarking is another very simple way to try out social media. You can use it to discover new content — based on easily filtered topics — that you may never have otherwise found (just press that Stumble button). You can save it and share it. And you can discover and identify other bookmarkers — some quite influential — who find, review and share sites and information that might matter to your clients or your own brand. Again, because you can proceed at your own pace, it’s risk-free. There’s no commitment on your part to create daily content or respond to the expectations of your followers.
Social media doesn’t come with instructions. You have to try it, play with it, and experiment a little in order to get it. Rather than commit a lot of time, why not just commit a little. Then see where it takes you. What are your thoughts? Any other easy ways to benefit from social media without falling victim to the time suck?