Which one are you?

1. Social media “wanna be”
Are you sitting on the sidelines? You know the tools and the rules… you know the lingo and tweet with a jingle. However… you are still sittin'… sittin' on the sidelines! Why I ask you!?

2. Social Media “Scaredy Cat”
You have dibbled and dabbled with tweets, Facebook and maybe even blogs. You may know enough just to be dangerous… or not enough to know what you don't know. Regardless, you aren't in the game. You have not one foot in. You don't play, you just sway between fingers on the keyboard ready to tweet and scaredy cat back in your seat! Why I ask you!?

3. Social Media Game Changer
You are in the game, making the rules. You build your brand and your bottom line by leveraging social media as part of an integrated program. You build your plan and work it… git-r-done is your tag and your swag.

This post is dedicated to those in the “Wanna Be” and “Scaredy Cat” camp. Game changers please comment and help the others cross the chasm to the fun of social media!

First question I ask you again is… WHY are you holding back? Are you afraid? Are you not sure what to do? Are you afraid of being laughed at? Are you afraid of not getting followers? Are you afraid of success? Maybe you don't have a marketing program or plan to begin with so you have no idea how social media could fit in.

I am by no means stating social media is a problem resolution for all biz and marketing problems. I also am not stating that social media is all you need and replaces the need for traditional marketing, a marketing plan and an understanding of your target market. Although social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools that should be in your bag of tricks, it is not the only one. I believe in integrated marketing that focuses on business objectives, goals, ROI and the integration of social media into your overall marketing plan.

On that note… you need to stop being afraid. Get off the bench! Social media is not going away. Of course it will change. Will it look the same next year at this time as it does now? Of course not! Will we use the same tools, the same methodologies, the same lingo to describe it? Probably not. However, one thing remains constant… it IS where people are today, tomorrow and at Christmas time this year. There are more than 400 million people on Facebook. 500 Billion is the number of minutes spent on Facebook each day by users.

If you want to grow your reach, expand your influence, uplevel your brand awareness then get on the bus. It is changing super fast and the longer you wait the more you are going to have to learn.

Why should you not be afraid?
1. Your life will not end if you lose a friend on Twitter.
2. Chances are half of your Twitter followers as a newbie weren't your friend to begin with.
3. Start with your family and friends. They won't leave you. If they do, you know where to find them.
4. There are 100 more out there like you right now! Sitting on their own lonely bench. Dare to be different!
5. The reward outweighs the risk! Why not give it a try, build your brand, build your image, build your biz!
6. There are plenty of mentors out there ready to help you, for FREE!
7. There are tons of resources available for FREE!
8.  What do you have to lose? Sitting on the bench is getting you where?? Well no further than the bench.
9.  As a newbie Twitter user, you have few followers… so who cares if you mess up? What's the worse that will happen? Nothing that matters in the global picture of things!
10. It's just a job! It is the eternal things in life that matter. Don't sit on the sidelines of life on a bench. If you are afraid to tweet what else are you afraid of? Growing your biz? Taking a risk? A down economy is the time to take risks. Smart risks… it is the Purple Cow as Seth Godin (my all time fav author) references, that will survive in a down economy. Being a number on a bench will get you nowhere but on the bench for good!
11. There are 400 million people on Facebook, 500 billion minutes are spent on Facebook per month, 60 Milion on LinkedIn. Are all these people wrong? Probably not. Even if so, who cares you'll be with all of them and have a network so strong you can move on to the next “thang” with confidence and support.
11.  The first and last rule of social media is it is social. Meaning interaction, engagement, conversation, relationships.  You will never see benefits from the sidelines or hiding behind avatars, boring blogs and opt-in forms.

Tips to Throw Out the Bench and Get in the Game!
1. Just do it!
2. If you're hiding behind a corporate Twitter account, stop reading this blog right now. Go setup a personal Twitter account with a picture of YOU immediately.  When you do send me a Tweet at @pammktgnut and I promise to tweet you back, be your friend and help you stay off the bench once and forever!
3. Don't worry! Worrying will get you nothing but worrying.  Instead spend your time on learning, listening, researching, prospecting, engaging, conversing and playing the game.
4.  If you are worried about time spent or don't have enough of it… seriously think about it.. who does?  Not anybody I know.  Start automating.  Start by using Hootsuite, Ping.fm, Networked Blogs on Facebook, RSS feeds, Google Alerts and the million other automated tools to help you benefit from efficiencies your first day off the bench!
5.  Instead of thinking “how will I find the time to do this”… think “what can I not do that I use to do… how can I optimize my time with social media and offload a more manual task or method that wasn't paying a positive ROI”.
6.  Find other prior bench lovers.  Find those who also are new to social media but found the courage just like you did (Or will do soon) to get off the bench.  Attend a webinar, local seminar, Tweetup, Meetup.  Check out your local chamber.  The best way to stay focused, motivated and learn is to connect with others both offline and online.
7. Follow the experts.  Use tools like Twellow and  Twitterholic to connect with local peeps.  Do a Twitter search at twittersearch.com to find experts.  Or check out the best lists on www.Listorious.com     www.mashable.com also keeps a nice inventory of lists.
8.  Become a walking factoid.  Learn the data, the metrics and the trends of social media.  If you don't know what to post on facebook or tweet about… do research as you're learning. Tweet what you learn! The more you learn the more you tweet. The more you tweet the more you learn!  Tap into sites like www.emarketer.com, www.entrepreneur.com, www.mashable.com for news are a few of my favs just to name a few.
9.  Find people who inspire you.  As you are beginning to “listen and learn” in social media you will come across many good blogs, websites, twitter accounts etc. Bookmark them in your browser.  Group them by topics, interests.  Note the ones you really like.  Subscribe to their RSS feeds.  My all time favorite is Seth Godin.  His blog post is the one I read each and every morning on Blackberry with one eye open.
10.  Note not all tweeters and social media maniacs turn into one eyed, one blackberry holdin' maniac.  If you somehow do, you can then join or nut club.  Sometimes it happens to the best of us.  Heck, at least you'll be having fun!

Would love to hear your tips, what you are thinking. If you're on the bench, if you're scared… tell us why! If we inspired you to get off the bench then tweet about it NOW!  Come back and share your success in a week, 2 wks and 30 days!

Go get-r-done!