Today’s guest post is from Chris Lucas. Chris works for Formspring, an online forms company in Indianapolis.

Not a real original title, I know…but I have a point. First let me introduce myself. My name is Chris, I work for an online forms company in Indianapolis. I am not a social media expert. I have been experimenting in social media for the last couple of years….now, on to the good stuff.

I am tired of people looking at social media and staring at it like its last week’s leftovers, wondering just how good it really is. Social Media is not a science. It is not a complex equation that should take years to study and years to implement – some people may think I am wrong, but oh well.

Companies and people need to stop staring and start participating. It isn’t scary, you learn by doing. You learn by listening. That is where many companies get it wrong…your first action is not to talk. Your first action should be to listen. Listen to what the people are saying. What they accept, what they don’t. What they need and what they want to see. I know, you’ve heard it all before. But seriously. Do IT – see what the fuss is all about.

If you need to “sell” it to your organization, don’t sell it as marketing or sales. Sell it as online PR. Sell it as brand management, sell it as protecting your name in one of the biggest unknowns out there – the internet.

You don’t need to be an expert, you just need to get involved.

Ah, the experts…don’t get me started. One of the reasons why companies are so afraid of getting involved is because they are afraid of the inevitable attack on their brand. The diatribes against ACME Co, because they are doing it wrong. Listen. This is new. People are experimenting. Social media experts need to stop lecturing. Everyone is not going to be authentic. Everyone has an agenda – even if they are authentic, everyone is trying to sell something. So we nee to let people figure it out for themselves. We need to let people find that balance. For every 30 authentic posts, comments, tweets, etc, they can sell once, mention their brand. Let them figure out what their audience will absorb and tolerate.

The beauty of social media is that people can listen to whomever they want, people will dictate who is successful and who isn’t. So when a company starts spamming or not being authentic people will stay tuned or not. They will run or they will stay. Companies will adjust or won’t. Some will get it, some won’t. The people will decide and most companies will pay attention. They will learn, but let’s not get our social media panties in a bunch, just because we were here first. Let the experiment continue and grow, that’s the beauty of this thing.