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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

10 Reasons Why Rural Leaders Need Social Media

Facebook is just one of many Social Media venues available to those eager to engage
If you haven't yet taken the plunge, now is the time for you and your rural enterprise to embrace Social Media.  Facebook?  You bet.  Twitter?  Of course.  LinkedIn?  Definitely.  Google+?  Yes.  Quora, Klout, Wordpress, etc.?  Why not?  All have merits, niches and flavors...and, yes, more will come.

Forgive me if I sound a bit flippant.  But we've grown so accustomed to "planning our work and working our plan" that we sometimes forget to "not let the perfect be the enemy of the good."  With social media, you rarely get an invitation.  You get a portal...and the rest is up to you.  You learn as you go.

Admittedly, there's more to Social Media than simply suggesting that you jump in...head an 18 foot cliff...without checking the water below.  Ideally, you want to identify your goals and develop an integration strategy.  Checking some helpful "How to get started..." web sites is also a good idea.  No sense in stumbling at the starting line!

However, our need to have "the answer" can stifle "the question" and get in the way of our potential.  Social Media, at least at this point, is a grand experiment.  And, despite the sharks and an occasional shipwreck, there's plenty of warm lagoons and freshwater streams with schools and schools of interesting...well, you get the idea.  To cut to the chase, here's a list of 10 Reasons Why Rural Leaders Need to Explore - if not Embrace - Social Media:
  1. Fulfill new expectations
  2. Claim your "digital citizenship"
  3. Build relationships with colleagues and customers
  4. Curate your brand, your bliss, your passion
  5. Expand your continuing education
  6. Transform advocacy into action
  7. Connect with Generation Next
  8. Understand the space, develop context for "What's next?"
  9. Inform your strategies
  10. Integrate with "the human network" (Thank you, Cisco!)
The opportunity awaits.  If you're so inclined, all you need to do is engage.  The web is a rich resource with Social Media sites that walk you through the process of getting started and helpful folks along the way that can get you the tools you need.

My colleagues Tiffany Anderson, Melissa Cox and I will be sharing our "going social" experience at the 2011 Blandin Broadband Conference in Duluth November 16th and 17th.  We look forward to getting feedback on the Top 10 list above and in learning from others on their experiences with digital media.

We will share what we learn in our next post.  In the meantime, we welcome your comments and feedback regarding this stream and the promise of social media.

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