December 17, 2008

Shall I Tell You Where to Go?

Do you know where you're going to?* That's the critical question Mark Gould asks in his recent post on social media, in which he makes the fair point that there really isn't a one-size-fits-all social media strategy. Each person and each organization has to figure it out for themselves. And it all begins with knowing what you're trying to achieve. Then you choose the tools that will get you to your goal.

That said, I know folks are always looking for the silver bullet, the one sure-fire way of achieving success. Putting to one side the fact that I don't know how you define success, let me make a suggestion: Go where the conversation is. In the brief time I've been using social media tools, I've been struck by how well they facilitate conversations that cut across status, age and geography. Above all, I've been impressed by the richness of those conversations. But don't be fooled by the fact that they can be brief, casual and, on occasion, banal. The reality is that these online conversations build relationships, and those relationships enrich your life. In fact, they can even be profitable in your professional life.

There was a time when the critical business conversations happened on the golf course or in particular private clubs. Increasingly, they are happening online. So if you want to participate, find a social media tool that works for you** and then use it to go where the conversation is.

[*When I first saw the blog title, "Do You Know Where You're Going To?" I thought Mark was joining me in my series of blog posts based on popular songs. Unfortunately, it was not the case. However, for those of you who don't mind a trip down memory lane, here's the song I had in mind.]

[**And, for those of you who have read this far, here's a small bit of advice: try using Twitter for three weeks and then let me know what you think. There are great conversations to be enjoyed there. If you wish, you can find me on Twitter using the tag @VMaryAbraham.]


Mark Gould said...

Thanks Mary -- In fact I did have the theme from Mahogany in mind. (And I have been hearing it in my head ever since -- even though I don't know when I last heard it on the radio -- it is amazing what memory can do.)

Mary Abraham said...

Sorry, Mark. An aural version of Proust's madeleine? Putting a song in another person's head is a (sometimes unwelcome) gift that keeps on giving...

- Mary

Mary Abraham said...

There must be something in the air. Mike Fruchter just wrote a helpful post, Social Media, Learn to Crawl Before You Walk ,in which he says:

"Find and participate in where the conversation is taking place. If you are using social media for marketing, this is very important. Find out where your current & potential customers are, and engage them. Establish a presence and contribute to the conversation, do not overpower and definitely do not spam, otherwise you will be shown the door rather quickly, and be exposed for a marketer, not a member of the community. We are giving and not getting at first, until we have earned the right to do so."

- Mary