9 Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Started Using Social Media

Isra Garcia
Isra Garcia Digital transformation marketer and new media analyst, IG - Empowering People, Business and Communities

Posted on June 12th 2014

9 Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Started Using Social Media

social media lessons from experience

You can’t help it. You can’t learn something you haven’t experienced. I would go as far as saying you can only learn from something you have failed in. Well, at least that’s my case. When I look at social media today, I look at it in a radically different way than I did two years ago. Partly because the social web has evolved, undoubtedly. However, I think that the key to this lies in an evolution in how I use it and what for.

9 things I wish I’d known before I started

If I were to start using everything the social web has to offer today (I’m not talking about tools or platforms here) and if I had the experience and the history of failures (and successes) I now have, then this is what I’d take into account:

0. This doesn’t create work. This is key: the best social medium in the world will never be able to create any project in the long term, not even a bad one! Take this into account: what you have in front of you are communication and marketing devices through which you can, essentially, connect with people and maybe, change a few things. They help us humanise a product, reach our potential public. OK then, but if you arrive empty-handed, there won’t be much you can do. It’s your project, idea, service or product that should be valuable; that’s your starting point!

1. I’m entering a world that’s no longer new. Right here, right now, this is no longer a field where it’s the inputs that your personal brand, business or organisation can receive that count; rather, it’s a place where it’s the outputs you can generate that matter and, with it, the positive impact they may have on your community.

2. Community management isn’t the solution. The market is increasingly open if we’re talking opportunities, collaboration and innovation, but increasingly narrow in regard to segmentation. In an organisation demanding flexible, multidisciplinary (and ultra-tasking) and highly specialised people, being a community manager doesn’t really add the value that organisations need to think of you as an interesting option. The work that will set you above the rest isn’t creating, launching or distributing content; not even answering to tweets. The work that this new world requires of you is that you decide what’s coming next using your instinct, ingenuity and talent and, then, go and make it happen.

3. A blog is your best choice. Don’t think about it, you should open a blog from the start and get writing. Take it easy and understand that you’re going to need three of four years of constant work, effort, passion and genius. This is the way to attract a great deal of attention and connection, which is exceptional in the social web. Upload to Instragram less, check-in on Foursquare less, avoid thinking about ingenious tweets all of the time. Instead, write more posts.

4. It’s (highly) likely you don’t need a Facebook account. Unless what you’re looking for is to become self-centred. It’s OK if you decide to have one: use it to keep in contact with the people close to you or to meet certain, very specific (professional) objectives you can easily evaluate monthly. As regards having a business page on Facebook: think of what value you’re bringing to your audience, objectively; what is it you bring besides constantly publishing images that try to grab their attention, get many “likes”, comments or “shares”. Also, think about the value that your community brings to the business: (measurable) conversations, direct traffic, (measurable) recommendations or information about your client. If you can’t find any of these elements, then possibly something of what you’re doing is failing or this platform is irrelevant to you.

5. You can go without checking your social networks for a whole day. If you allow yourself the pleasure of doing so for a set amount of time, you’ll be able to check what doing the work that really matters feels like. Staying logged on to Twitter or LinkedIn all the time won’t make your bank account grow.

6. Help objectively. Focus on the people who need your help and, more importantly, on the people you can help out. Sometimes, people whom you cannot help will contact you through the social web. Be honest and tell them; if you know someone who might be able to help, then recommend them and, if not, simply apologise and move on. An audience knows nothing about gods.

7. Disconnect from any negative currents. When you hear criticism, consider that the critic (or cynic or hater) shouldn’t even have the option of holding the mike and talking. Don’t even ignore them, simply pay no mind to them, block them wherever you can, push them out of your world. They’ll continue at it, whether you’re there or not. They’ll get tired one day and leave to become someone else’s cynic. A life envied.

8. It never ends. You’ll always find a new platform to try out, a new tool to subscribe to, a new comment to leave, a new video to watch, a new follower to follow or a new post to read. There will always be more but you’ll still have the same limited time. Problem.

If you dig a little, you can always find out things you wish you’d known before starting to do what you do. The treasure lies wherever you find these things and share them with people who’re starting to follow the same path.

Photo credit:Marie.

Isra Garcia

Isra Garcia

Digital transformation marketer and new media analyst, IG - Empowering People, Business and Communities

Marketer, digital transformation and new media advisor, speaker, blogger, educator and an agent of change.

Social Media Today's Best thinker member. Isra is the creator and author of the paradigm that has revolutionised the social media: Human Media and also founder of Stand OUT Program, Engage Worldwide and Principal at IG.

His blog on Social Media, Marketing, disruption, lifestyle, new perspectives, productivity and change is visited by more than 110,000 people every month. Only 31, Isra has taken part as a TEDx speaker on two occasions and has participated in more than 270 industry events as speaker. At 27, he started his own agency, and has worked as consultant and analyst on new forms of online communication and marketing for other agencies and brands such as EMI Music (Spain – Portugal), BlackBerry (UK – Ireland), MTV (UK), Pioneer (UK) and blur Group (UK – USA), Amnesia Ibiza (Spain) and Music On (Spain – Italy). He has been the promoter of MONK (UK – Italy – Sao Paulo), the first Human Media Marketing agency, where he worked as Human Media Evangelist and Advisor, and is now involved as head of digital media at Bridges for Music (South Africa – India – Brazil), an international NGO that fosters and encourages change and talent. Isra has also been in charge of Marco Carola’s personal brand as one of the most influential artists in the electronic music scene worldwide. His fast-moving career has always been related to Web 2.0.  Isra´s early work as a consultant, in charge of teams and Social Media strategies for Social Media & Community. These are just a few of the highlights of his career. Undoubtedly, Isra adds a visionary and human-technological way to understand this new environment that the Internet has provoked.

Leaving aside companies, roles and projects, Isra has always been characterized by a thrilling passion for the human side of communication.

Isra writes for international publications such as Social Media Today, SmartBrief and contributed with FastCompany and is a guest lecturer at EOI, Fundesem Business School, Nottingham Business School, University of Leeds and University of Manchester. He is co-founder and organiser of Adictos Social Media and "Internet Changes Everything."

Isra is a 31-year-old visionary and pioneer who has revolutionized the New Media environment with his concept of Human Media based on human business interactions through the Social Web . Isra pioneered how the the new use of online media leverages the Social Web through human relationships, Human Business Interactions, connectivity, feelings, resonance and of course people. Specialized studies in Spain, UK and USA represent the base for his international career. Isra was recently on TEDx where he introduced his vision about Human Media and its impact on brands, businesses, people and the Web.

In only two and-a-half years, Isra has completed two Ironman races and, since last september, he is one of the only 89 athletes in the world that has completed the three-day ultra endurance event, "Ultraman" (10k swim + 420k bike + 84,3k run). He always pushes the intellectual and physical work far beyond his limits.

You can find Isra at TEDx events, presenting his perspective on Human Media, the future of social media, change, revolution and disruption. Also, in his Spanish blog http://isragarcia.es and international site http://isragarcia.com.

“Writing about oneself is infinitely more difficult than writing about anyone else. You’ll find that the story you thought you were telling people isn’t the story that people perceived.” Isra García.

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Comments

Thanks for the insight, Isra. When it comes to social media, there are so many things to know and learn, especially since the social media world is constantly evolving. However, I will say that at www.ProseMedia.com, we find it effective to respond to negative comments, because it shows your readers that you care about their responses. Ultimately, any engagement with your audience is helpful. 

looking forward to being a product of this organisation.