These days, many people declare themselves experts in social media and will try to sell you seminars, training, and coaching services. Should you use them? In my opinion, none are necessary, at least not at first.
Most social media platforms are very user-friendly. If you are used to navigating websites and using search engines, you'll have no problem using social sites either. If you want a tutorial of the sites, they have their own help/how-to sections that walk through key features. A quick Google search produces many quality tutorial videos that you can watch again and again.
However, the biggest reason not to outsource your social media usage is because social media is all about your network, and nobody knows your network like you do. A coach can show you how to do an advanced search on LinkedIn, but he can't sift through the results for you to see who you may know, or determine which people you want to ask for a referral or introduction to others. A coach can show you how to find LinkedIn Groups, but he can't determine which groups you feel most comfortable contributing to, and he certainly can't post or interact with others on your behalf.
So while a coach can teach you the basics about navigation and key site features, he can't do any of the work that produces the real value that other advisors are deriving from using social media for business. And given that the sites themselves are easy to navigate with many free resources available at your fingertips, all you really need is a quiet period of time to spend with your computer or tablet, and a little bit of self-discipline.
Lauren Boyman leads the digital strategy for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, the first major wirehouse to allow advisors to use social media in a compliant way. She is responsible for client web and mobile, as well as advisor mobile and social media programs. Follow her on Twitter, @LBoymanMS.
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