Like most homeowners, I found myself deep (over my head?) in a renovation project during my week off. Seemed simple enough: Remove an old sliding patio door and install a new one. Not that simple, of course, but it nonetheless reminded me of good advice I’ve received about social media.
Tools support a goal. Because of a number of complications, I used just about every tool I own (and had to buy more). I didn’t just say: I want to use a hammer and a saw! Which is, alas, what too many people do when they say: I want to make a Facebook! or Let’s do a video! with no attention to why and how they want to use social media. For my project, I had a goal — replace my patio door — and the way it unfolded dictated what tools I’d need.
Learn to adapt. The condition of the (soon-to-be-removed) Florida room where I installed the door provided some obstacles (or even hazards). The previous owners appeared to have framed the door after putting it in, which made it impossible to fit without taking out the old framework. Much adaptation ensued, and sometimes I was on my third or fourth tool to take out an obstacle. This is true of social media too: You’re never sure what to expect. You can plan, but sometimes you have to roll with what happens and respond. Or you may find a social media avenue is not working as you want, thus you have to change. Or you have to go into your social media toolkit for another option.
We can’t do it alone. Did I mention that a sliding patio door is a large, cumbersome item? After a lengthy amount of trying to negotiate it by myself, I eventually realized I’d need someone to help situate it (thanks to Fred Vigeant for the extra hands). This happens in social media too. We can’t monitor our Facebook pages and Twitter accounts 24/7 without some help (often students). We need other people contributing engaging content. If you’re fortunate enough to have a great network (via Facebook, Twitter, G+ or other), you can learn from colleagues at any time, and tap them for advice.
It’s never over. If you own a home, you know that there’s always another project waiting as soon as you finish anything (I have several). And working with social media is a never-ending process — whether you’re answering questions, learning about new means of communication or trying to figure out how to do things better. But even though there always seems to be more work to do, don’t forget to step back and take some time to admire a job well done once in a while.