With half of all marketers still not up to speed with social media it pays to remember that, before you embark on any activity in this field, you need to do your research.
The resources are out there, I share a lot here (see Carving out your social media niche), you can also get great advice from the big players like Chris Brogan or from up and coming blogs like The Social Penguin.
Do this for yourself to get a picture of what’s involved in an effective social media presence. The key, as ever is engagement. It’s not a broadcast medium (unless you have hundreds of thousands of friends/followers) it’s a conversation medium and half of a good conversation is about listening.
Once you’ve done your research there’s one important thing that you need to grasp, and this goes for pretty much any business decision: you have to commit.
Without commitment you’re going off half-cocked. Don’t just dip your toes in the water by setting up a Twitter account or Facebook fan page and putting your news on there, it won’t work, it won’t grow. You need to set aside the resources, whether that be people in your office with the time to do it or money for a consultant. Use these resources to do it properly. Listen and engage.
With this commitment you will be able to ride out the bumps. You won’t stall the first time you receive some negative feedback, and you will be well placed to tackle all of the challenges that come with operating in such a new and ever-changing field.