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Series: 7 Practical Steps to Getting Started in Social Media

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Written by Paul Steinbrueck

social media, social networksPeriodically, I get messages from people that sound something like this…

“Paul, I know social media is big.  Our business/non-profit/church needs to start using it, but we’re not sure how.  Can you point me towards some resources and give me some practical steps to getting started?”

It’s a great question.  A lot of the blog posts, webinars, and training sessions talk about the benefits of social media but lack practical steps.  Many others are written assuming the reader is already using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc and are over the head of the person just getting started.

So, today we’re going to kick off an 7 part series called Practical Steps to Getting Started in Social Media.

Before we jump into the practical steps, though, there are 3 important prefaces I want to touch on first.

1) Learn how to learn.

No two organizations are exactly the same, therefore no two organizations should have the same approach to social media.  There are a million social networks out there and a million different ways to use each one.  If you are looking for step-by-step instructions so you can function like a social media robot, I think that’s the wrong approach.

A better approach is for us discuss a general philosophy of how to learn about and engage in social media in a way that’s applicable to all social networks.  This will empower you develop your own unique voice, figure out how to use social media in your own unique way, and prepare you for future social networks which are bound to come along.

2) Understand that social media is a conversation.

If you are just getting started in social media, all of your marketing up to this point has been broadcasting in one direction – from you to your customers/supporters/members.  If you view social media as another medium to “get your message out” you will fail.  Not only will you not produce results, but you will actually damage your organization’s reputation.

Imagine yourself at a party.  If all you do is stand in one place and talk about yourself to anyone who comes within shouting distance, you will look like a self-centered fool, and everyone will ignore you.  It does not matter how great your product, organization or cause is.

You absolutely must understand that social media is a conversation.  Yes, there is a time when you get to talk, but listening, responding, and asking questions are even more important.

3) Be a person first.

The best business owners are the ones that understand their customers.  The same is true in social media.  The businesses, non-profits, and churches who are using social media best today are the ones who are led by people who know what it’s like to be on the other side.  They engage with other people, businesses, non-profits, and churches themselves, they know how they want to be treated, and they know what they want from the organizations they engage with.  They bring that experience to their organizations and engage with people the way they want to be engaged with.  So, if you want your organization to use social media well, the place for you to start is to engage in social media yourself as an individual.

I’ll close this post with a preview of the 7 practical steps to getting started in social media:

  1. Learn
  2. Listen
  3. Mingle
  4. Develop Your Voice
  5. Set Goals
  6. Implement & Adjust
  7. Incorporate

Tune in tomorrow for Step 1: Learn

Until then, let’s talk about the 3 prefaces above.  Which jumps out at you and why?

About the author

Paul Steinbrueck

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

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