Thursday, February 9, 2012

Simplifying Social Media: The Fear Factor

If you're new to social media, chances are there are a few fears waiting to rear their ugly heads. Such as the fear of learning something new, the fear of how others will perceive you, and the fear of not shining as brightly as those around you.

It doesn't make sense to learn about social media only to have fear stop you from fully utilizing it. So let's be proactive and arm ourselves with some wisdom and truth to combat the fear!

Fear #1: I Won't be Able to Learn the Technology

Technology can be hugely intimidating. It is, after all, insanely prevalent in today's culture and changes in the blink of an eye. So if you're someone who is not "good with computers," you may feel that using social media is beyond your expertise. But the truth is that social media isn't as complicated as you may think.

I'm an intelligent lady, but if you sat a typewriter in front of me, I would be utterly lost and intimidated. Why? Because I've never used one, and would need to arm myself with some knowledge before I could master it. It's knowledge and the experience gained from applying that knowledge that makes all the difference. 

So before you write off social media as something beyond your abilities, make the choice to absorb the necessary knowledge first, and then see if the proverbial mountain still seems as scary.

Fear #2: I'll Look Like a Fool

Are you afraid that you'll say or post the wrong things? That you won't use a platform correctly? Or that everyone will see right through you and know that you're not computer/Internet/social media savvy?

Want to know a secret? I have never done a large-scale blog series like this one before. But between friends, family, clients, and a networking group, I sent out 200+ invitations to follow my blog. Am I afraid that I'll mess up? Sure. If a seasoned blogger visited my blog, could he tell that I'm not as polished as he is? Probably. But I have a goal to simplify social media for small businesses, so here I am!

Is it possible that you'll make mistakes? Yes. That's the chance we take everyday, with everything we do. So don't let fear keep you from venturing into something new. Besides, I bet you won't make nearly as many mistakes as you think you will!

Fear #3: I Don't Have Any Ideas

Social media requires that you share...something. But you may think, "I don't have anything worth sharing."

Not true! You have more to share than you realize! Your experience, talent, knowledge, information, and to some extent yourself!

Combat this fear with research. Do an online search for blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, etc. of other people in your area of expertise. What are they sharing? How are people responding? Use what others have done to inspire you and get the brain cogs turning. Also, ask current clients what they would like to see. Keep a notebook to log ideas of topics, photos, and information you can share. You'll be amazed at what you come up with!

Fear #4: My Content Will Fall Short

It's very easy to fall into the trap of comparing your work to that of someone else's. Pretty soon the temptation to give up can creep in.

First, realize that you do have great content to offer. It's just a matter of unearthing it. (See Fear #3 above.) Second, remember that each business is different, even within the same area of expertise, and the goal is to have quality content that reflects you and your business. So what may be great for your competitor down the road might not make sense for you.

Ultimately, keep your focus on your business, and where you are going.

Fear #5: No One Will Care

If we believe we don't have anything worth sharing (i.e. Fear #3), and/or fear any content we share would fall short (i.e. Fear #4), then we may easily conclude that no one would care to engage with us.

But the explosion of social media says otherwise. People are interested in engaging with businesses and individuals online, in all kinds of areas.

Often, the real fear beneath Fear #5 is the good 'ole fear of rejection. We're afraid that if we put ourselves out there, no one will respond.

You want to have a solid plan for utilizing social media (which we'll address later in the series), but don't be afraid to put yourself out there. Remember, you're entering a well-established arena.

The question isn't whether people want to engage with you. The question is, are you going to choose to step out there and meet them where they are?...

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