So you want to get involved in social media. You hear that it’s the wave of the future, and you want to start reaping that sweet, sweet ROI. After all, social media’s free, right? So you can just sit back, relax, and watch the bucks come rolling in.

Wrong. Do you want to know how to succeed in social media without really trying? Lean in very close, and listen well. This is important.

You can’t succeed in social media without trying.

If you think you can, save yourself the time and don’t even make a Facebook or a Twitter account. If you ever want to be successful in social media, whether it’s for networking, business, or personal reasons, you have to try.

You have to try to care about people, to remember who they are, what they do, and what’s important to them. You have to try to post things that are interesting, funny, or thought-provoking.

If all  you’re going to do is hook your Twitter feed up to a blog feed and automate it, don’t. If you’re just going to schedule cold, impersonal messages all about your business, you’re kidding yourself. If you have no intention of ever actually communicating with another person, you’re wasting your time.

Social media is worth the time to get it right. If you commit yourself to this newfangled technology and reach out to people, I promise  it will enrich your personal and professional life in ways you couldn’t have imagined. But if you’re just looking for another get rich quick scheme, you’re looking in the wrong place.