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How do you get started in social media?

It’s the musical question that everyone seems to be asking these days. And the answer depends on what you are trying to do. Too often, people ask that question, assuming that what they have in mind is all that can be done with social media. So, when a PR person asks, they look at social media as a communications mechanism. Marketing people want to run a social media campaign. Customer service people want to help customers on Twitter. Who’s right? Yep, all of them.

Social Media Landscape

Image by fredcavazza via Flickr

Social media starts wherever the most interested person works. Often it is a PR or marketing person, but I’ve seen it start in customer service, in product development, in market research, and maybe other places if I think about it longer.
But we need to think about social media beyond each individual use case and treat it more as a tool to accomplish business goals. People often argue about which group should “own” social media, which misses the point. In your organization, which group “owns” the phone? Yes, building facilities owns the wiring closets, and customer support owns the call center, but all employees have phones on their desks.
Social media is similar. Some groups will need specific expertise in social media to carry out their duties, but all employees will need training to use this tool, just as people did not know how to use phones when they were invented.
So, when you think about how to get started with social media, don’t worry about it too much. Start wherever you think it makes sense and has business value. Soon enough, you’ll be struggling with the problem of how to make it bigger.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website,, most recently as the Manager of Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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  1. Hi Mike,
    I do believe that with Social Media, you do just have to jump in and often times those who don’t have a full grasp of it, will jump in without any particular goal, start something, give up and drop out.
    Should there not be a clear understanding of what each platform can provide and how they can all be leveraged based on a particular business goal?
    lmk what you think…

  2. Avatar Mike Moran

    Good question, Misha. I think that companies can run small-scale experiments in social media without any real goals, just to get their feet wet, but that the next level of maturity requires that you know your business goals and that you’ve analyzed the right social media tactics that are in concert with those goals.

  3. Avatar Himalayan Salts

    First, I just know social media sites to meet new person, But now I suddenly realize the importance and how will social media sites help us in many ways., especially if you are promoting website and products. 🙂

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