Practical Steps to Getting Started in Social Media – Step 2: Listen

listen social mediaWe’re continuing in our series Practical Steps to Getting Started in Social Media.  If you missed em, check out the previous posts in this series…

Some people learn best by hearing, others by doing.  Both of those methods were covered in Step 1: Learn.  I’ve found one of the best ways to learn is by observing others.  That’s the focus of this step.

Once you’ve clicked around your account while reading over some getting started guides, it’s time to start listening to others who are already using the social network you’re getting started in.  There are at least six groups of people/organizations you’ll want to connect with and begin observing.

1.    Social media experts

These are the people and organizations who write and consult about social networking in general, and specifically about the social network you’re jumping into.

Recommendations: @PamMktgNut, @hubspot, @equalman, @ChrisBrogan, @GiniDietrich (most if not all have Facebook pages as well)

Watch these people for their insight.

If you want to use a social network well, it’s a good idea to keep up with the latest news, tips, observations, and analysis.

2.    Individuals at the top of their field on this social network

A lot of people who are popular on a particular social network are popular because they fall into category 1. Makes sense right?  But you want to follow people who are not just talking about it, but doing it well.

Recommendations: @MichaelHyatt, @HawaiiRealty, @thejointstaff, @Alyssa_Milano, @ScottWilliams

Watch these people for their methods.

What kinds of posts do they make?  How often?  How much personal stuff do they post vs professional?  What’s their style?  How do they engage with others?

3.    Organizations at the top of their field on this social network

Essentially the same thing as #2 except organizations instead of individuals.

Recommendations: @charitywater, @zappos, @lifechurchtv, @WholeFoods, @Harvard, @comcastcares

Watch these organizations for their methods.

What kinds of posts do they make?  How often?  How often if ever do they try to sell something through a post?  What’s their style?  How do they engage with others?

4.    Leaders in your field

These people don’t necessarily have to be popular or use social networks well, but these are the people who post stuff that you and others in your field find interesting and helpful.

Watch these people for their content.

What topics do they post about?  Do they provide links, quotes or other content you could retweet, repost, or blog about?

5.    Organizations in your field

Watch these organizations for their methods and content.

As an individual, which of their posts do you like?  Which do you not?  Do you find them interesting and engaging?  What do you think of the style of their posts?  How would you like your organization to be like them?  How would you like to be different?

6.    Friends and acquaintances

Watch these people for their interactions.

How do they engage with each other?  Do they reply to or retweet each other’s posts?  Do they like or comment on each other’s posts?  How often?

Don’t go overboard following, friending, and listening to everyone you can think of who fits one of the descriptions above.  Listening to 5-7 people in each category should give you a good idea of how people are using that particular social network.

Who would you recommend someone new to social media listen to?

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, 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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  1. New Series: Practical Steps to Getting Started in Social Media | Christian Web Trends Blog - Aug 27, 2010

    [...] Listen [...]

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    [...] Step 2: Listen [...]