For a long time, social media has been considered by others as an idle activity and what young people do when they have nothing else to do. Many things have changed. Social media is no longer a joke, but a powerful platform and family of applications that connect people and organisations in interesting ways. It is an essential tool for networking, an important arsenal in the marketer’s toolkit and a key to personal branding and positioning. Social media is a powerful tool for the peasant and the pope uses it diligently. It is for the pupil’s learning and the politician’s mouth piece. It is the pastor’s pulpit of choice that has few limitations. It is up to you to learn about social media, and to use it to your best advantage. It is a tool, it is a market place and it is an ever present town-hall and city square. It can be whatever you choose depending on how you use it.
To be effective as an expert, professional, social influencer or sales person you have to position yourself as a trusted and competent advisor. Social media gives you a window to establish your credibility as a trusted advisor and influencer. Social media done well gives you authority positioning. Unless people know that you know what you are talking about they likely will easily switch off and unfollow you. It is no longer enough to know that you know, you have to share. Help others see what you see. Let those that are playing on social media play well and safely. For you it is serious work and a credible podium, place to knit family and friends. It is open market place with ample opportunity to generate leads, test-market and also monetise what you have and know. Your articles reveal what you know, your tweets reveal how you think, your engagements reflect your reach. You instagram posts open windows to your world, while your LinkedIn profile shows your expertise. Your WhatsApp group shows who is in your network. Social media allows you to position your brand in your desired market space. Social media gives you the microphone and opens the podium and it is up to you to use it well.
In using social media, do not be in a hurry but also do not be lazy. Posting once a year is being careless. Posting mindlessly is being carefree. Waiting too long and fearing to start your social media journey is being embarrassingly too careful. All the things that you have to learn to do on social media you best learn by doing. Start learning by engaging, posting and participating. Do not follow others in mindlessly hurling insults at people you do not know.
We have entered the age of “internet everything” and digital everything. In this new order social media is no longer alternative media but an element of mainstream media. Without it mainstream media is disabled. Social media is now the market place, the tool, the communication channel, the conversation-enabler and the way we engage. For others it is the way you emote, play, network, sell, refresh, and meet and fellowship. For others it is the way you church, feed spiritually and also reach other kindred souls. Not shifting towards this important technology shift leaves you out of the game and in the cold world of analogue. Waiting to just play offline, leave you out of the game and the cloud of relationships that are pushing forward.
With the technology shift has come the age of infinite media. With infinite media comes unlimited new possibilities of work, engagement, conversation, a new economy and novel trading places. New skills and jobs are being born in the social media space. Media is no longer limited to the traditional forms that we have always known, but everyone now has the power to produce, use and participate in the media space. Infinite media has no time, geography or other barriers. It is always on and always ongoing. Perhaps this is the reason why a lot of people feel overwhelmed by social media. When you know what you are doing you can see your way clearly and realise that there are possibilities for your gift, song, your view and message beyond your wildest dreams.
The currency of life is time and the currency of greatness is faith. Social media is time-hungry and time can indeed be a challenge if used mindlessly. Social media can be a time waster and it is highly addictive but this should not discourage you. Social media is a powerful business booster, and important career ignition. How you use social media determines the benefits that acrue to you. The problem is never the weapon, but the one using it. Social media is a choice weapon in engaging your clients, community, crew and collaborators. Social media allows you to keep top of mind in the eyes of your prospects and partners. Unless you are seen, known and heard you risk being forgotten. Life hurries forward after burying its heroes of the past. Social media is a highway of going to market and educating your customers about your products and services. Social media is a powerful information tool. Time invested will pay you great dividends. Learn about this powerful weapon and use it to shape your greatness.
An important idea in the social media space is the idea of “tribes”. This is not your pedestrian idea of tribalism. This idea was advanced by Seth Godin in his book: “Tribes, we need you to lead us.” Mr. Godin defines a tribe as a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. Social being is a platform that enables this. He advises that a group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate. Social media then is an opportunity to find tribe that share your interest, passion and aspirations. Think of any subject on earth, there is a “tribe” of people that has an interest in that subject, follow it and have something to share and exchange. Social media allows you to find tribes in every walk of life, to exchange every idea you could imagine. Join the tribes you admire, the subjects you are passionate about and stay connected to the developments in that chosen space.
Mr. Godin advances this idea that informs social media behaviour: “You can’t have a tribe without a leader — and you can’t be a leader without a tribe.” Hold this thought because this is the key idea when it comes to social media. In social media the layers are flattened, the barriers are removed and distance is eliminated. Social media allows you to lead and not to just wait to be led. Godin says: “Everyone is not just a marketer — everyone is now also a leader. The explosion in tribes, groups, covens, and circles of interest means that anyone who wants to make a difference can. Without leaders, there are no followers. You’re a leader. We need you.” When you sign up on social media, know that you are signing up for leadership. You are signing up to lead your “tribe” – those that like what you say, that follow your ideas and love your style. You have the responsibility to make yourself worth following.
Social media is not about just throwing content but effective leadership and engaging. Take the lead in giving worthy content, sharing things of interest, showing that you are interested and engaged. In social media everything happens on the screen of your computer, phone or tablet. The mobile phone is the weapon of choice for all social media tribes.
Be engaged, be involved and take a part. Be willing to take baby steps as you learn. Each social media type has its own culture, behaviour and language. Learn and you will play better. Watch how others do it and model that, while refining your own act and style. Set aside a time regularly and participate. You will be amazed at what you can learn by doing. In time you will not just be a participant but you will be an influencer. Your initial steps may be fearful. It gets easy with time. Social media is really social in nature. It is about people connecting with other people. You do not take one act and disappear for ages. You have to feed your followers, fuel your fire and engage your friends. Do a bit every day, move a step daily, post something daily, engage someone daily, react to something daily, learn and apply something daily and watch what happens.
Learning is always a journey, do not fear it. What we have to learn to do we learn by doing. Start learning today and you will be amazed at how quickly you will sharpen your social media skills. See what others are doing and use this to refine your own act. As you learn and grow, the social media space is also growing, changing and improving. In time you will find the social media options that work for you. Why are you waiting. Sign up and post. Take action and do not forget to search for my name and follow me.
Committed to your greatness.