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As our world becomes increasingly more digital, businesses big and small are tasked with a new challenge. The marketing winds have blown from direct mail campaigns, newspaper ads, and billboards to blogging, tweeting, liking, sharing, re-tweeting, pinning, posting, vining, and +1-ing.  Let’s be honest… it’s overwhelming. By now, most business owners know social isn’t going anywhere. They know their customers are on it and they know it drives sales. They may even realize it’s a great way to manage customer service! But slapping a “Like us on Facebook” or a “Follow us on Twitter” sticker to your window or banner on your packaging just won’t cut it.

With new social networks popping up everyday, it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning in a never-ending sea of social. But like any fear, the best way to beat it is to face it head on. Here are a few tips for businesses just facing the social waters.

 

1. Take it one stroke at a time: There are dozens of social networks out there. Don’t be tempted to try to get on all of them at once. You wouldn’t try to master 10 different swim strokes at once, right? Then don’t try to do it on social. Take it one stroke and one network at a time. Once you’re comfortable the breaststroke, try the butterfly. Once you’ve learned Facebook, try Twitter. I’m a firm believer that you’re always better off being great at one thing than mediocre at a bunch of different things.

2. Be patient: It’s important to remember social media will not bring instant results. In fact, it takes a lot of consistent engagement before businesses will see a return. The more time you put into social, the easier it will be to reach your goals. 64-year-old Diana Nyad didn’t fulfill her dream of swimming from Cuba to Florida on her first, second, third, fourth, or even fifth try! It took her six attempts and a ton dedication to reach her goal. Be patient with social and don’t worry about making mistakes along the way.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help: I’ll be honest: developing, managing, and executing social media strategies is no walk in the park. People have built careers, companies, and software platforms to help manage social media presences. If it becomes too much to handle, don’t forget to throw your arm up. Just like lifeguards, social media professionals are around for a reason. Ask for help when you’re in over your head- even if it’s just a helping hand while you catch your breath.

The time to for social is now. Don’t waste more time worrying it will be too much work or too overwhelming. Remember these tips, take a deep breath, and dive in. You and your customers will be glad you did.

 

By: Meg Riedinger