I attended a presentation sponsored by the Greater Baltimore Technology Council this week – The ROI of Social Media – and one of the obvious takeaways (and one that so many people haven’t done yet) is that to really understand what’s going on in this space, you’ve got to take the plunge and participate!
On day one, you don’t have to Flickr, Twitter, blog, IM, wiki, podcast, tag and Digg. You don’t even have to know what this sentence means!
No, just start out slooooowly. Panelist Jared Goralnick, blogger and president of SET Consulting, summarized it best by suggesting a start with RSS. Go to YouTube, he said, and search for how to set up an RSS feed, and then subscribe to blogs of interest that you can find through a simple search. I created a MyYahoo account years ago to do this and it was simple to set up. After a while you’ll get the hang of it, add more feeds and then be ready to dive into the other elements of social media.
Next up should be participating on LinkedIn and Facebook, which all the panelists endorsed. More on how to use these social networking tools – for business – in future posts.
As you read the blogs on your RSS feeder, notice who’s using Flickr and how. See how people Twitter (and try to figure out why!). Read about trends in social media. Learn what widgets are and take a look at how they’re being used. Visit a YouTube channel to see how a business is using it. In other words, get involved, and then you’ll see how public relations should be an integral part of the social media universe.
As panelist Greg Cangialosi, blogger and president of Blue Sky Factory, said: “This is only the beginning.”