truthSocial media is an excellent tool to stay connected to your friends, family and for business – fans, followers and prospects. Social media is not however, the goal in and of itself. The goal is to participate in the online conversations, show some personality and establish a connection with your audience.

The truth about social media is that it is more about conversation, relationships and personality than it is about marketing. It is not something that includes ticking off marks on a checklist; it is being real and interactive. It doesn’t work quickly, you are not special and you can’t blow your own horn and broadcast instead of having conversations. Sorry, it just doesn’t work that way.

It’s a marathon – not a sprint. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve run across that simply want instant results from social media. They generally believe that just because they have a social media presence, the fans will come-a-flocking and everyone will immediately love them. Not true. It takes time (and I’m sorry but you don’t get to choose how much time) to establish trust in any relationship. This holds true for the relationships you have with your fans, followers and prospects as well. In the beginning, you will feel like you are talking into a black hole – and you are. Get your stubborn face on and understand you need to participate “until”.

But I am a great writer, what do you mean I’m not special? You don’t have to be a great writer to establish a social media presence; you have to just be a person. Unless you have a product or service that absolutely no one else has and every one else wants, you’re not special. You can be special however if you understand how to create and implement a social strategy.

You can’t tell people where to go to follow you. Some people like Facebook and Pinterest. Others prefer LinkedIn and Twitter. You can’t simply hang a shingle out there on a social network that your fans, followers and prospects don’t participate on and expect they will just jump over to your network, there’s more to it than that. Do some research, find out where your target hangs out and go there, they will see you in a better light.

Have a conversation, don’t blow your own horn and broadcast your pitch at every opportunity. Funny thing about people on social media is they are tuned into being push-marketed to and trust me, they will jump ship once they figure out you are not in the game for the right reason. Social media means being social (hence the name?). Being social doesn’t involve speaking with a bullhorn.