We have been singing along with “Somewhere over the Rainbow” for a lot longer than social media has been around. The Scarecrow, the Wicked Witch, and the ruby slippers were cultural icons long before Mark Zuckerberg went to college and launched Facebook. And L. Frank Baum first penned those memorable stories even longer ago. So what is it about this magical children’s tale that relates to our modern Internet-driven lives?
Social media takes brains. Not a lot, mind you. You don’t have to be a Rhodes scholar to manage a Facebook page or send out some tweets. But there is a learning curve – new technologies, new ways of doing things, learning the value of keywords and hashtags. But mostly, effective social media requires that you be intentional, consistent, and (relatively) polite. These are the sort of smarts that everyone has. If the Scarecrow could figure out how to get Dorothy to the Wizard, then you can manage a basic blog or Facebook page.
Social media takes heart. The most effective people – in life, not only in social media – are the ones who are passionate about what they’re doing. If you’re excited about a cause, a career pursuit, or any other subject matter, then let that excitement come through in your online posts. Genuine enthusiasm goes a long way. Keep your dreams and passions always in mind. And so if, like the Tin Man, you get slowed down by a little rust, your heart – and the hearts of your dedicated followers – will pull you through.
Social media takes courage. It can be intimidating to post things about yourself and your life online for the world to see (let’s not go overboard the other way, though, with posting too many details). If you’re sharing your photos, your product, or your words with the world, you open yourself up to the good, the bad, and the ugly of feedback and interaction. Managing all your profiles and maintaining a thick skin might make you want to turn around and jump through an Emerald City window like the Cowardly Lion. But just keep pushing through and you can do it!
Social media is about friendship. Those who are most effective with building a following (and/or selling their books, products, or service) are friendly. Support, teamwork, give-and-take, and love are the building blocks of good relationships – both on and off line.
Now go start in your own backyard! If you’re just starting out with using social media for the purpose of building a platform or making a name for yourself, it’s okay to start small. Start networking with the people you already know, the professionals in your industry who you already follow, or local organizations who can help you.
See? Basic social media competency doesn’t have to be that hard – everyone has it in them! Just put on your ruby slippers and go start your adventure!