For all the talk about “community” and “sharing” when it comes to social media, the fact of the matter is that it’s competitive, fast-moving, and at times – downright scary.

If you want to build your business online, here’s step one: own your niche.

Finding your space online then taking control of it isn’t just the first thing you should do, it’s the only thing you should do. To do it, you need to know who the influencers are and why. You need to know where and when people are most active, and why. You need to be willing to follow so you can be followed, like so you can be liked, and share so you can be shared.

If your plan for social media dominance is to put yourself on a pedestal, good luck.

Getting your hands dirty in the culture of the people that you want to lead is an undeniable reality of any journey to the top. Politicians speak to groups in church basements, musicians play to near-empty bars, and authors keep their growing stack of rejection letters neatly filed until someone is ready to take a chance that they’ll be the next big thing.

If you think social media is a can of worms, you’d be half right.

Where does that phrase “a can of worms” come from anyway? It means something that will cause a lot of problems and is, on balance, probably going to cause more trouble than it’s worth. I can agree with the first half of that definition when talking social media, but not the latter. If you’re willing to face the problems and challenges head-on, it IS worth the trouble.

Speaking of problems and challenges – if you’re having some and are feeling stuck, tell us about it and we’d be happy to help. Leave a comment here, or reach out on Twitter or Facebook.