How Do You Take The "Fear Factor" Out Of Social Media?


You learn more quickly under the guidance of experienced teachers. You waste a lot of time going down alleys if you have no one to lead you. W. Somerset Maugham

Just One Crowd Sourced Question

Crowd source Before there were books or conferences about social media .. before there was Facebook or Twitter people tried to make sense of marketing in a digital world by tapping the experiences of those who were exploring the (then) innovative ideas of blogs and RSS. 

We met in late night Skype chats exchanged emails and posted our thoughts and questions on blogs. We learned from each other. I can not think of a more generous group than those who live in the social media world.

In the spirit of Somerset Maugham, I thought it would be fun to crowd source a series of how do you do it posts. So I did what any good social media marketer might do, I tapped my social networks. 20 Marketers kindly shared their thoughts on the 2nd question in the series: Just 1 Crowd Sourced Question.

The funny thing is we continue to learn from each other within our ever expanding digital worlds. Enjoy!

  • Question: How do you take the "fear factor" out of social media?

First of all, you have to uncover the fear. Is it fear of writing? Many people feel they aren't good enough writers. Is it fear of comments? Is it fear of time? Once you know what the issue is, it's easy to tackle. For writing - a quick demo of the conversational style of blogs and social media works wonders.

If it's the fear of comments - well, why do you fear comments? You can manage them but... teaching people that a complaint is a gift, takes care of that. If it's fear of time, a simple editorial calendar and the understanding that you can prepost everything - even on Twitter, helps people relax. ~ Yvonne DiVita, LipSticking  @lipsticking

Start with talking about objectives first and tools depending on objectives. Emphasize results are measureable and measuremet can be matched to business goals. ~ Shashi Bellamkonda, Network Solutions @shashib

The fear factor in social media stems from not understanding how social media works. Instead of seeing social media as a conversation, it is often views as tools, technology, and broadcasting. To remove the fear factor, it is important to show people that social media is about talking with others, and building relationships through sharing conversation. When the human aspect is considered, rather than the technological aspects, the entire idea of social media becomes a natural part of life. ~ Wayne Hurlbert, Blog Business World  @WayneHurlbert 

We need to remind people that they have a digital footprint regardless of whether they use social media. Choosing not to participate is no guarantee of staying below the radar screen, even if you'd prefer to keep a low profile. ~Bonnie SashinBonnie's On it @bsashin

Educate, inspire, and make it personal. Adding a little fear helps too, by showing what their competitors are doing and showing them what will happen if they keep sticking their heads in the sand. ~ David Berkowitz, Marketer's Studio  @dberkowitz

Oh, please, just dive in! There are, for sure, opportunities to commit faux pas (and plenty of helping hands along the way for quick recovery), and far more to share, connect and become regarded as the expert you are. Fear? Not in this arena!. ~ Lya Sorano The Oliver/Sorano Group

I guess the biggest fear is saying something dumb & then knowing your great great great grandchildren will be able to read it online with all their friends. ~ Anon

I find it's less "fear factor" and more "I know I need to be doing social media, but how? I don't have time for this. Can't you just do it for me?" We're all trying to do more with less and keeping up with social media (being consistent) and learning the fast changing tools are the biggest hurdles.

Assigning dollar values to fans and followers, sharing case studies of success, and showing ROI on campaigns makes it an easy sell. ~ Angie Robar, LinkedIn 

I suppose I should be more afraid. ;-)

Start slow. Listen at first. Test the waters with retweets and/or sharing cool/interesting content (videos, blog posts, news). I post things about Startups, Technology, and stuff that's very personal. I'm posting as me, not as a brand. And I'm trying to live authentically both IRL and online.

As Chief Chick of StartupChicks, I do represent a brand. A brand that I built almost entirely on Social Media. And I do occasionally think twice about what I am personally posting, and if it could possibly look impact that brand. And I have deleted a post for this very reason. But, for the most part, I don't really worry about it. My friends and followers have come to know ME through this platform, and if I don't always say the exact right thing or have a typo... they'll understand. After all, they are my "friends". ~ Jennifer Bonnett,  Chief Chick, StartupChicks @startupchicks  Founder, Nexpense @jen_bonnett 

Find out how they feel about cocktail parties and water coolers and remind them that its really just the same thing. ~ Anon

I blogged about exactly this! ~ Joel Rubinson, Joel Rubinson

I guess the biggest fear is saying something dumb & then knowing your great great great grandchildren will be able to read it online with all their friends.

1. Do your best not to say anything dumb. 
2. Take comfort in the fact that it's unlikely that our great great great grandchildren will know how to read anything longer than "lol". 
3. Dance like nobody's watching. (They're all too busy worrying about how dumb they look.)
~  Tsufit, Author, Step Into The Spotlight! Tsufit

Use email marketing as a point of reference. Every new channel comes with the fear factor, and the best way to control / learn them is to get in the game. Use email marketing as a point of reference. Every new channel comes with the fear factor, and the best way to control / learn them is to get in the game. ~ Anon 

Demystify the barriers to participation, lower the expectations, be crystal on the need for communication, ~ Marc Meyer, Direct Marketing Observations  @marc_meyer 

To take the 'fear factor' out of social media, I relate it to a person's own online habits e.g. ever read a review on Amazon? look for a how-to video? conduct a search for a local retailer? etc. Most are engaged in some form of social behavior (online) without even realizing it. ~ J Schmitt @cloudspark

 To overcome this fear, start by working w/ someone experienced in social media who will (patiently) help you get familiar & comfortable with SM as a consumer - i.e., show you blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc., and then help coach you to join in the conversation/community. ~ Sybil Stershic, Quality Service Marketing @sybilqsm

Being true ones purpose of being on line. Passion mission business Act from a place of love not fear. ~ Anon

Like everything, most fear is related to ignorance or a lack of understanding and education. It is about education of social media for those afraid of it. ~ Jim "Genuine" Turner, One By One Media  @Genuine

Just do it. ~ Steve Woodruff, Steve Woodruff @swoodruff

First I acknowledge that the fear can be well based - bad things happen online, as they do offline. Then I provide analogies for what we do offline in fear situations, e.g. have legal advice, get accountant's advice on financial matters, don't go down dark streets in strange cities, or even into dangerous areas in our own cities or at particularly risky times, have good HR policies in place to cover behavior issues.

Then I say it's just another area for risk management for contemporary companies. Then I say there is no shortage of models, templates and expert advice available (e.g. the social media guidelines explicitly available for copying, in Brian Solis' Engage p196ff). It's a bit of an intellectual approach so it is probably not going to help the people who want to luxuriate in their fear and/or often proudly trumpeted ludditism :). ~ Des WalshDes Walsh @deswalsh

Dragon slayer women .. and my thoughts. Before you can conquer any dragon you must first answer two questions. 1. Why are you afraid. 2. What exactly is your dragon?  

Your responses to the first question will lead you into the culture of how your organization currently conducts business. The insights you discover will lead you to a better understanding of not only your marketing/pr/sales/research strategies; as well as your internal employee culture. 

To answer question number two .. well you've taken the first step by reading this post. Learning as much as you can about social media is the secret sauce. Toby Bloomberg, Diva Marketing @divatoby

How do You take the Fear Factor out of social media? Please share your insights and learnings in the comments.

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Great thoughts all around! I work in a highly-regulated, risk-averse, conservative industry, so I live this question every day.

My take:
Speak in the language of your audience. If you're talking to left-brainers, give them numbers and data. If you're talking to right-brainers, tell a story.

-- Michael E. Rubin, Social Media Strategist, Fifth Third Bank
Disclosure: I am a Fifth Third employee, but this is my own opinion.

Posted by: Michael E. Rubin on Jan 27, 2011 11:49:28 AM

When you combine great minds with different perspective and thoughts, evaluate them and make them you own, you innovate and become better. This post gives us the opportunity to look into the thoughts of others and see what fits us perfectly. Just PERFECT! Thanks!

Posted by: Friend adder elite on Jan 27, 2011 2:27:38 PM

Great post on removing the social media's fear factor Thanks for sharing

Posted by: SEO services on Jan 28, 2011 5:42:41 AM

I think the way to do it is by using the phrase "Toe in the water". I work with lots of brands and busiensses and when I am talking to the executives the first thing they say is "are we not going to get destroyed online?". The answer is that yes it might hurt your brand if you are silly or go about it the wrong way but by taking baby steps and doing it slowly you'll see that it is not as scary as you thought it was!

Posted by: Niall Harbison on Jan 29, 2011 11:56:48 AM

@michael and @niall - thanks for adding your insights. you both presented concept that often are overlooked .. but can be a powerful way to step into social media w/out the fear factor!

Posted by: Toby Bloomberg on Jan 30, 2011 12:28:01 AM

Social Media does provide consumers with a public forum to express negative opinion it also provides companies with the opportunity to openly address issues and show that they take action and value consumer opinions and happiness.

Posted by: vancouver website design on Jan 31, 2011 12:17:07 AM

When it comes to social media, sometimes the fear also has to do with the additional area of responsibility because anything that goes on there is associated with the brand.

Posted by: MicroSourcing on Feb 1, 2011 1:30:35 AM

Thanks this post..
keep writing your blog will be more attractive. To Your Success!

Posted by: John Papers on Feb 1, 2011 1:54:26 AM

Social media marketing is the practice of using the previously mentioned social networking sites as a means to directly promote a business, service, product or event. Let’s use Face book as an example of how firms are using Social Media

Posted by: create fake facebook profile on Feb 1, 2011 11:08:52 AM

Lots of interesting views from people doing different things in the industry. I think that the fear comes from not knowing what to do with social media. Like any other marketing plan, it's important to go in with a strategy in mind.

Posted by: Nick Stamoulis on Feb 1, 2011 11:11:43 AM

Very good educating thoughts on social media! Online Habits is the word I like the most. Thanks for the share!

Posted by: Steven - Personal Coach on Feb 2, 2011 9:09:50 AM

best way to deal with your fear is to face your fear.

Posted by: business woman on Feb 6, 2011 8:33:10 AM

Good post! Writing is quite difficult to master. You should practice and read a lot for you to be able to comment a better one. Anyone is capable of doing that, proper discipline and determination to reach your goal of being a good blogger is a good foundation.

Posted by: Ecommerce on Feb 26, 2011 7:55:48 AM

This is so true! social media is an effective tool to get exposure and for creating brand awareness. the best part of social media is that you can have others opinion about your product.. i guess this is the only reason why we are seeing such a huge turnouts of companies in media’s like FB & Twitter

Posted by: Virtual office assistant on Mar 17, 2011 1:35:10 AM

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