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I Own a Hammer, but I am Not a Carpenter

I had a conversation with a large marketing firm recently. I have more and more of these kinds of conversations, with firms of any size, as CoolPeopleCare grows in size and becomes a place to inform lots of people. So, I have these conversations to brainstorm about how these firms can use our site to grow an audience for their clients' projects, campaigns and initiatives.

And I'm beginning to realize something: no one knows how to use social media.

Sure, lots of people know how to 'do' social media. They can set up blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and YouTube channels. But that's all that happens. Profiles and pages and accounts sit there, doing nothing, offering little in the way of conversation (and sometimes, information).

Having a blog does not make you a blogger any more than having a kitchen makes you a chef.

Having a Twitter profile does not make you a Tweet-er any more than having a suit makes you 'a suit.'

I own a shovel and a rake, but I don't want you to look at my backyard. I own a drill and a saw, but the shelves in my pantry are only mediocre. Perfecting my yard or my craftsmanship takes a strategy.

So why then, are so many marketing types, business leaders and other decision makers hopping on the social media bandwagon without even knowing where they're headed?

Here's the deal: before you set up any online presence (outside of your Web site), spend one hour (yes only one hour) thinking about the following:

  • When someone sees this (Facebook fan page, blog), what do we want them to do with it (read it, interact with us, tell their friends, go to our Web site)?
  • What kind of commitment can we make (daily updates, weekly articles)?
  • What does success look like (a million new site visitors, lots of inbound links, new donors recruited)?

Yes, it will take more than an hour to really answer those questions, but very few people are even spending that amount of time on it.

At CoolPeopleCare, we're having a 90-minute brainstorm tomorrow (they'll be 8 of us) to just talk about how to best use our Facebook fan page.

Don't use Facebook/Twitter/blogging because it's cool. Use it because it works.

More posts about social media:

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