Follow through with social media

Am I the only one who feels like the prevailing wisdom on good social media behavior has been regurgitated until it’s baby food? “Have a complete, up-to-date profile.” “Participate regularly.” “Don’t hard sell – share useful knowledge.” Solid articles espousing these tenets exist everywhere. I’ve even written one or two myself.

Check, check and double-check. In an hour’s worth of searching blogs, news feeds and articles for fresh insight on using LinkedIn, I came up with zilch. Even articles on LinkedIn’s latest features, like the ability for anyone to publish content there, wound their way to the same conclusions.

Is there nothing fresh to be said? No inspiring insight, enviable angle or even wicked trick we haven’t heard before? It seems so basic, so bland, so kid stuff. In fact, the parallels to mom’s advice are striking:

  1. Look your best.
  2. Try hard.
  3. Practice the Golden Rule.

I guess the issue isn’t – and never really has been – whether the advice is good. Of course it’s good, good enough that once we sorted it out at the dawn of civilization, we’ve simply played variations on a theme. The real issue is the gap, whether a modest sliver or a yawning chasm, between what we know and what we do related to social media.

Can we build a bridge across this gap? A trustworthy path between knowing and doing, motivation and follow through? Yes, and the answer might be to get out of our heads. To stop searching endlessly for a new piece of advice to one-up what we know and instead to just follow through.

Social media follow-through:

  • Do you know that offering real, relevant advice in a key LinkedIn group helps you build connections that can become leads? Then decide, and put on your calendar, to share an insight two days a week. When the reminder pops up, don’t put it off or second-guess it – go to the group and make the comment.
  • Do you understand that your LinkedIn profile needs to stay fresh? Commit to a quarterly profile brush-up. On April 1, don’t start surfing for advice on good LinkedIn profiles. Log in, click “Edit profile,” and add your two latest presentations.
  • Have you heard that establishing yourself as a thought leader on LinkedIn ultimately brings sales benefits, no broadcasting of spam needed? Then log into the site at 11 a.m. every Monday through Thursday and read industry-relevant articles for 10 minutes.

Of course I concede that, no, we didn’t actually learn everything we need to know about social media in kindergarten. And yes, social media will continue to evolve and so will the best practices related to it. But rather than thinking that the important thing is discovering the latest, greatest approach to social media – in fact, rather than thinking so much about it, period – let’s act. Low-hanging fruit, people.

Emily SmithContent Writer and Editor

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