To become fluent in social networking, I recommend you do the following:
1. Just do it. There is no substitute for first-hand experience. You have to dive into social networking head-first to really understand it. There is a difference between knowing something and knowing about something. You will never know social networking until you do social networking.
If you haven’t done so already, sign-up for a Twitter account, a Facebook account, and a blog—in that order. I also recommend that you read the following posts on Michael Hyatt blog:
* 12 Reasons to Start Twittering
* The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter
* How Much Time Does Twittering Really Take?
* How to Update Your Facebook Status with Twitter
* How to Start a Blog
With regard to blogging, you might also
watch presentation on blogging from the O’Reilly Tools of Change Publishing Conference.
2. Subscribe to social networking blogs. There are some great resources on the Internet for free. Currently, I am subscribed to the following blogs (via RSS):
* Blogging Pro
* Daily Blog Tips
* Social Times
* Twitter Blog
I also follow these social networking gurus:
* Chris Brogan
* Guy Kawasaki
* Mitch Joel
* Seth Godin
3. Read a few key books. These are the best books I have read so far on social networking, I have reviewed Tribes here on my blog. If you can only read one book, it’s the one to read. I plan to post my reviews of the others as I have time. (The links below are Amazon affiliate links .)
* Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin
* 33 Million People in the Room: How to Create, Influence, and Run a Successful Business with Social Networking by Juliette Powell
* Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff
* Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky
4. Attend a seminar. I highly recommend the LifeWork 2.0 seminar taught by Randy Elrod and Spence Smith. They will teach you more in a day than you can learn on your own in months of study. This is a day-long, fast-paced seminar that will leave your head spinning. But you will also know exactly what to do next to use social networking as the powerful marketing tool that it is.
Question: What other resources have you found helpful in learning about social networking, particularly as it relates to marketing?
P/S: Be yourself. Consistency actually comes from the belief that we function best when we can be ourselves.