I get lots of questions on this.

Facebook Fan Page? What is Twitter for?  People keep sending me invitations to Linkedin, should I join?

Should I be using this social network or that one?  What should I be doing online with social media marketing?  It’s all the buzz – I should be out there, right?

It really, really depends on you.  You, the marketer or marketing department.

Yes, I’m a big advocate of social media – when it is used to benefit your audience, the relationship and yourself.  That’s right, I said – yourself.

The reason I say this is because of experience.  In my early days of social media, I pushed many of my clients into social media.

“You’re gonna love it.”

“It’s great.”

“You’re building relationships.”

“Look at how many people I’m connected to.”

But just because it works for me, doesn’t mean it will work for you.  Why?  Because it’s a different mindset for a marketer.  This isn’t what they taught you in school about outreach, frequency, and return on investment.  There are really no classes on how to do it – even though, I’ve been known to teach a few. 🙂

I know what you are thinking.  This isn’t helping me, Don.  You are telling me nothing.

Maybe.  I just want to give you caution before you step into the social media pool.  Once you start swimming here, you can’t stop.  You must continue to be here.  Smiling, laughing, shaking hands, conversing, being polite, and being smart.  It’s not easy.  But not much is in marketing.

So what do I use:

Linkedin – This is my resume online.  It’s what I’ve done in my life.  It’s who I know professionally (not everyone but a lot of people).  It’s where I converse more since I’ve come to Notre Dame.  The Notre Dame Campus Communicators group is active and fun with over 100 members.  I’m proud it’s taking a life of its own and people are sharing ideas, news and discussing best practices.

Facebook – This is for people that I know as well but more friends then professionals.  I’m connected to friends, family, my church, my boss, lots and lots of people.  I let my hair down here, sort of.  You should always be authentic to yourself in these places but I don’t say things that my mom wouldn’t approve of.  Well, maybe some things but she’s not always on it.

Twitter – This is for people I don’t normally connect with or know and those that I connect with who are clever and fun to listen to.  I learn from @mattcutts, @chrisbrogan, @unmarketing, @mashable, @bostonmarketer, @scottyhendo, @mitchmaxson and many, many more.

I laugh and smile and share with my @AgencyND team @chasgrundy, @oaknd1, @humanradiator, and @erunyon.  It’s just great to know that I’m not alone in this crazy marketing world.

But this is just personal use.  Which keeps me on my toes and keeps people thinking I’m smart and a guru – which I’m not. In fact, never trust a social media guru or social media expert.

What I would do is trust a social media mentor.  I’m hoping I could be that some day.  I’m still working on it.

I use the smart people I follow to be a good chunk of my brain.  Just ask a question on Twitter and see what happens.  People will answer you.  People will help you.  People want to be useful and, they don’t disappoint.  Well, the spammers do but most don’t.

I’ll do a follow-up blog about how to use these as marketing tools but I tell you what if marketing is all you are looking for with social media, you will be highly disappointed because you’ll find out quickly how ineffective your social media marketing.

What do you think?