Fear Means Go: Stretch Yourself For Social Media Success

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T. S. Eliot

No matter the industry, to grow business and earn a profit, you are constantly seeking a competitive advantage. Competitive advantage comes from innovation. Innovation comes from taking risk. But if you’re waiting to find a risk that has a high probability of success and low probability of failure, you will not find it.

Change starts with movement and feeling fear doesn’t mean stop. Fear means you’re stretching. Successful people stretch. They think carefully, but then choose to do. To act. Don’t fool yourself. To do nothing is choosing something.

By now you probably have read too many articles and blog posts on the latest social media channel. It was Facebook, then Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Tomorrow it will be something else. Articles on the latest social media channel or success story can leave you in a constant state of feeling behind with no hope for catching up, let alone getting ahead.

When it comes to social media it is easy to get stuck in a “paralysis of analysis” while searching for the perfect solution. The key is realizing that you will never have all the answers and to not get caught up in the latest social media star.

Start with what you know: your business objectives and target audience. Find social media channels your target is active in and devise ways to engage them on a personal level that will move them towards business objectives. I say business’s objectives because social media goes beyond marketing into customer service, PR, HR, etc. For example, if you discover (through listening) that most brand conversation on Twitter is product or service complaints those issues need to be fixed before making more marketing promises.

How did Shaun White become the first snowboarder ever to land back to back double corks? He tried it. People become innovators by trying and eventually they succeed and become the experts that everyone looks to enviously and wonders how they did it. Did Orville and Wilbur Wright have all the answers before they attempted flight? No. They had a series of small successes and important failures that taught them lessons that lead to ultimate success.

Shaun White, the Wright Brothers, and Frank Eliason didn’t fear, fear.

How did Frank Eliason go from customer service manager at Comcast Cable to S.V.P. of Social Media at Citi Bank? Two completely different industries? He had a simple idea (provide personal customer service on Twitter where people were complaining about his company) and he did it. Fearful? Yes. A stretch? Absolutely. He had no marketing or PR training, but now he tours the country telling us Marketing and PR professionals how to use social media. The Wright Brother’s owned a bicycle shop, but that didn’t stop them.

So when will you have your Shaun White, Wright Brother’s, Frank Eliason moment? If you’re not afraid, you’re not stretching enough.