The 5 Social Media Baby Steps – Where Do You Start?

If you’re struggling to get started with social media, you’re not alone. With all the buzz about social media, there’s really a lot of misinformation about what it takes to get started and be successful.

And no matter what the pundits might make us believe, it really isn’t too late to get on the social wave. Sure, the first wave has come and receded away – but many more are yet to come. Today’s the day to get started with social media – to get your feet wet and make the dive!

I was reading a November 2008 post by Chris Brogan, If I Started Today, in which he spoke about what it took to get started with social media back then. A year and a half has passed since then, and in this world, that’s about a light year.

Here’s a fresh look at the five steps you want to take in the next one week – and start your own journey on the social media highway:

Be Prepared To Listen And Learn:

Social media doesn’t give you an unrestricted permit to yap about yourself at will – and bulldoze your way through conversations, communications and contacts. What works in real conversations, also works in social media. And especially when you are in Rome, you better prepared to do like the Romans do!

Take your time, and listen in to conversations. You’ll come out more intelligent and educated – and avoid making a fool of yourself. You will need to spend time, and make an effort to get up the learning curve (platforms, tools, techniques and purpose) – and make it relevant for you. You’re first few hours (and days, months, years…) are better spent reading blogs, following twitter conversations and monitoring trends.

So much the better if you are an introvert – these 5 Ways to Jump In And Thrive are just for you.

Build A Base Camp:

Where is your social media base camp? It better be your blog – and the About Me page on that blog.

Without a good base camp, you’ll just perish in with the elements. You need a base camp not only to support your social media expeditions, but also to provide you with shelter when you need a time out and make a retreat.

Where’s your base camp? Go out and build one. And if you already have one, run off the checklist to make sure it qualifies as one!

Build Your Outposts:

I love the term – outposts. That’s what Chris refers to you secondary social media strategy. Choose your social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn et.al – and start getting active there. Active not in the sense of getting on people’s nerves – don’t be a PIA – but start out as an observer. Building connections takes time. Start investing time to build real connections – and share your wisdom.

I’d build outposts which help me reach into lots of different places and communicate with people where they might be. Depending on my needs, I might use different tools. – Chris Brogan

Start Your Camp Fire:

No, not the real kind. Once you are able to relate well to social media, it’s time to establish authentic, genuine connections. Let people love you for what you are, without having to don a mask. You’ll need these 5 simple ways to increase your flock.

If you start it, they will come. Start your camp fire, your flock will come. Just be sure that your camp fire supports the tenets of sharing, caring, mutual understanding, respect and trust.

Step Up The Gas:

With the first four steps ticked off, you’re already on your social media highway journey, amigo! You should be already traveling pretty fast – if not, no harm stepping up the gas. Keep an eye on the trust factor, and everything else will line up.

Make sure you know the 12 principles to shine out in social media – and you should be cruising already. Really. Promise!

Nothing much has changed when it comes to getting started with social media – has it? But then, have the rules of chivalry ever changed in the last few centuries? Sure, the means have changed – not the rules.

I’d say the same applies to social media. What do you think?

(Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/12392252@N03/)

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