When us old timers started out in this social media stuff 5 years ago, there wasn’t a whole lot to go on. There were no training courses. Heck, there weren’t even any books yet. What we learned, we gleaned from a combination of reading the blogs of smart people, connecting with other social media geeks on Twitter, and a big chunk of our own intuition. We just tried stuff. Some of it worked gloriously. Other stuff failed spectacularly. We clicked and explored and shared in the wild, wide open, and relied on our gut to know what to do next. And it shaped our experience in a big way.

I think in general, most of us don’t trust our intuition enough. We want to know all the answers, and be 100% confident in everything before we step foot into the unknown. These days, there are countless training courses and books and paid online communities that we feel will give us the inside scoop on how to succeed in social media. We spend hours writing and refining our goals and building concrete, measurable action plans. We consider the risks of this action or that, and weigh all the options. Only then, do we consider actually sitting down to create something.

Look, having a social media strategy is vitally important. I’m definitely not arguing with that; I spend a tremendous amount of of time working with people on building good social strategies. But all the strategies in the world are not going to help you if you are not willing to just try stuff. And that’s where intuition comes in.

Intuition is a muscle. If left unattended, it will quickly wither. It’s easy to let your intuition go – especially with the abundant products and tools that now exist to show us the way. But the problem with only listening to others is that your experience is always going to be unique. Your circumstances are not everyone else’s.

Only you know all aspects of yourself and your situation, which means that ultimately, there’s a point where you need to let go of all the advice floating around and simply go with your gut. That could mean choosing to interact with a certain person (or not). It could mean going with that compulsion you have to offer a differing point of view on somebody’s blog. It might mean finally listening to that niggling feeling you have in the pit of your stomach to actually sit down and write your own post, or do that podcast. Not because your social media strategy says you should. But because your gut says you should.

Of course, intuition isn’t the ONLY social media strategy you should have. But I challenge you to spend a bit of time today letting your intuition navigate you through this world. Instead of interacting with someone just because they are “influential”, interact with someone because they get your attention. Get quiet and listen to your gut, and if it tells you to write or record something, then do it, without thinking “how can I measure this”?

And never forget, your gut knows more than any guru.

[photo by add1sun]