“It’s easy to be against something that you are afraid of. And it’s easy to be afraid of something that you don’t understand.”-Seth Godin

As social media evangelists, many of us run into road blocks when it comes to usage of social media with coworkers or clients.

Fear has kept many people away from this wonderful tool because of a misunderstanding… or better yet… a lack of understanding. Every person on the planet has had to deal with fear in at least one point of their lives.  Well, minus my social media acquaintance Duncan Riley, who seems to have no fear. Period.

Kyle. We get the point. People have fear of something they don’t understand. This fear keeps them from opening up and becoming involved in something that could help them in the long run. So what? Why do we care? Should we care?

Absolutely we should care! It is our job as social media users to convince the fearful among us to embrace this medium. Shouldn’t we tout and spread the word on something we love so much? How do we help the non-believers face their fear of Social Media? I have 3 points to help you along your way. Please Pass GO and give me your $200.

1. Put It Into Their Context

We (Brandswag) were recently on a conference call discussing the concepts of membership websites. We were trying to explain to them the concept of a NING Network to help with the facilitation of training for new and current employees. Needless to say, there was some push back. No one was at fault for this. It was new territory and it was our job to explain it to them.

One of the conference call attendees decided to explain the community network in terms of the conference call the pastors were currently on. He proceeded to liken an online community dialogue with that of the conference call. The sharing of ideas between people to create one solid idea that care be shared by a community of “believers.” Needless to say… they got it.

2. Throw Them Into The Water

There is no better way to experience something than to throw yourself into it head first and learn on the way down. It may not be the easiest way to face fears and shift paradigms but it will work all the same. There are times when I am consulting with a client and I will tell them, “Maybe you should take a couple of weeks and just try your hand at LinkedIN and Plaxo? I want you to write 5 blog posts and link them. When you are done with that… email me.”

Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. You have to judge the person you are helping and plan accordingly.

3. Hold Their Hand (In Public)

Sometimes the only thing a person needs is to be taught how to use a platform. I’m not talking a word document that has the necessary step by step actions to add a picture to Facebook. I’m talking about sitting down with someone and physically walking them through the steps of a social network.

I have found that once you teach someone a social network it doesn’t take long for them to grasp the other networks. It only takes one network to get rid of the fear and head-trash. After that one thing, you have created another evangelist.

4. Use Case Studies. Your Case Studies.

Many times a case study can help calm the fear in all of us. People are looking to qualify every marketing vehicle on the face of the planet. If you have the ability to show proven results it is extremely important to do so… and do it first.

If you do not have the proven case studies and you are talking about other success stories… quit. You are making it hard on all of us.

5. After Everything. Create A Strategy.

It is easier to sell social media to your boss, a potential client, or a business partner if a strategy is in place to create success. It is about writing out goals and processes over the next 6-12 months. It is about creating financial data for the return-on-investment when using the tool (both in financial and human capital).

I am convinced we should all be using social media for some type of brand awareness campaign or lead generation tool. It is about creating a worthwhile plan and communicating the process effectively to winning overwhelming support for your cause.

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