There's too many people that rely on social media. They're cowardly when they go to industry events. They can't speak to a potential client on the phone. Social media is all they have. Social media is going to be a tiny little bump in your career. Take it in stride, realize it's power but do not allow yourself to put all your weight on that weak-ass crutch.
Realize that the information in this chapter will change with the times, so, for you readers beyond 2012 (unless the Mayans were right), maybe it’s different for you. Hopefully blogging is still around, but maybe you’re too busy riding your hover-boards and flying around with your fancy jet-packs.
Okay, now breathe. This isn’t a chapter on shaping your social media presences or putting out a persona that people will love. If you stop reading after this paragraph, just remember to be yourself. If you’re a funny person--be funny. If you’re just a nice, kind human--be nice and kind. If you think a link is interesting, post it to your Twitter and/or Facebook account, but just be yourself. Kthanksbye.
Now let’s go back--back to the dark ages--back to 2003 when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and there were no social outlets online.
“In 2003, when I got out of college, CSS directories like ZenGarden.com and CSSMania.com were new on the scene.
No one (that I knew) was really blogging or talking much except in online forums. As a freelancer with no marketing budget, my options for getting my name around were: 1) emailing companies/ firms asking them if they needed a contract designer, or 2) posting work online in design forums asking for help, hoping someone might see my signature links. Getting your work spread around virally was almost impossible.
Welcome back, McFly. Today, with Dribbble, Forrst, Twitter and Facebook all you need is a good blog article, a killer redesign and an amazing contribution to an open-source project, and your name is spread around to thousands of possible clients and fans. The flow of information is super- duper-ultra fast now but there’s a lot more cool stuff floating around, so the noise is turned way up.
If by this point in time, you’re not using social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook to reach your customers on a daily basis, you are in the minority, friend. These, along with avenues like Digg, HackerNews, and Reddit are all well-known and highly-traversed paths for reaching online tech audiences. They’re all great platforms for creating an online presence that’s updated in real-time. Blogging, though not in quite the same vein as social media, is also radically beneficial in maintaining traffic and attention online. If you want to use these tools to market your services or products, then you need to think about your approach.
If you can pick between getting your work done and tweeting--get your work done. Don’t pour your soul and time into social media. It will not change your business this year. It might not ever change your business. All types of marketing and relationships take years to mature.
There’s a ridiculous amount of books on how to do social media, and they’re all freakin’ boring as hell (Yes, I said “freakin’, because I’m trying not to curse as often). If you want to learn how to use Facebook, go read a book on the subject. I’m going to tell you what NOT to do.
“Wearing Ed Hardy is just as bad as Tapout.”
Social media isn’t a tool to just broadcast your message, it’s a way to engage people. It’s a way to tighten relationships. If no one is talking back to you, replying to tweets, etc., then you’re boring and probably wasting your time.
Allan on Twitter:
Your tweets have bored me lately, and I’ve probably bored you with mine. Actually, who am I kidding? My tweets rule. Here’s why people stop following you:
- I’m not watching the same TV shows you are, so if you’re making comments about Glee, True Blood or American Idol, you’re tweets are out of context for me. Tweets that are out of context don’t make sense to others.
- I’m not in your city, so I don’t care about your Foursquare and Gowalla check-ins. You’re punishing anyone outside a 2 mile radius of yourself.
- Your tweets are just links to articles. You’re basically an RSS feed. I want a little bit of personality in your tweets. I want to know you.
- You’re not really yourself on Twitter. I can tell if you’re faking it. If you’re happy happy all the time, it sucks.
- If you’re negative all the time, you’re bringing me down. I don’t want to kill myself. Please, don’t make me feel like I should.
- You post too many inspirational quotes. Is this because you have nothing to say?
- You retweet instead of replying to people. Example: “Do you want to eat dinner with me?” “RT @StevenBristol: ‘I’m hungry!’” Please stop doing this! It’s terrible.The full article "Your Twitter Stream Is Boring Me To Tears. Stop It."
I want to know you. I want to see a picture of your dog and your kids playing. I would love to know what you think about a new web service that launched. Link me to an article you like on politics. Tell me about where you want to vacation. I’d love to know if you’re going to a conference that I might want to attend. If you’re funny--be funny. Be yourself. Be yourself all the time--this doesn’t mean you should tweet your every thought.
I’m fairly opinionated in person, so that comes across on Twitter. I tweet things about my kids occasionally (if you stop following me because of this, it’s probably for the best). Realize that every time you tweet, it’s an opportunity for someone to unfollow you. Accept this, and embrace it in order to build the following that you want.
Don’t talk in 3rd person as your company--that’s just creepy to me.
Don’t post comments on my pictures from years ago. That shows me you’re looking at all my pictures. That also creeps me out.
Because of the amount of work that can go into writing an article, blogging can become a hurdle. Hire an editor to look over articles for you, making sure your grammarz skillz be flow’n rite. This editor will also be your accountability partner, helping you get articles finished and published. But please only blog if you feel like you have something to share. Most people have something to share. Write things that you’re passionate about, things you’ve learned and mistakes you’ve made. What could you teach yourself if you could talk to the version of yourself from five years ago? What did you learn yesterday? Start by blogging twice a month. Ask your friends to look at your articles. If the readers like your posts, they’ll share the link. Only certain types of blog posts will actually spur comments, but don’t use comments as a gauge of success.
LessEverything is constantly bookmarking ideas for things to blog about. Allan and Steve can’t just sit down and create these magical words for you. The general rule for writing is to cut a blog post in half, start by taking out sentences that don’t have impact. It’s much harder to write short, to- the-point articles than long drawn-out articles that bore the hell out of everyone.
LessEverything’s blog readership isn’t huge, but the blog has certainly made a huge impact. Nothing Allan and Steve have ever done has been, “the key to their success”, but everything has certainly worked towards slowly building the momentum that the company has now.
Most of LessEverything’s clients read the blog either before or after they initially contact the company. This is evident because the clients say that one of reasons they choose LessEverything is because of the content of the blog.
No social media outlet will ever replace the phone, video chat, or shaking someone’s hand and looking them in the eye--one on one communication. It doesn’t matter if you have an awesome Facebook page if your product sucks. It doesn’t matter how many Twitter followers you have, if no one is listening. The marketing noise is turning up, more and more, ads follow you around the Internet, and people are trying to sell to you harder than ever. This is brilliant news for you. This is your opportunity to be genuine, and real, and stand out to those who need you.
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