Corner of Teak Avenue and Lark Street. Suburbia, America. Little Johnny Johnson has set up a lemonade stand to make some extra spending money so he can go on a camping trip with his friends. He’s spent the last three days meticulously setting up his stand, another day painting it and getting it ready, and his mom helped him make the lemonade. He sits patiently, hoping to sell enough to fund his trip.
The only problem is….Johnny hasn’t done any marketing. While he’s hoping to sell a hundred dollars’ worth of lemonade today, the only people who know he is selling lemonade are the people who might randomly drive or walk by and decide to buy a cup. His target market is extremely limited because all he has is a single sign that only people who pass by close enough can see. At the end of the day, he might sell 10 cups of lemonade depending on how many people pass by and actually want something to drink. He is relying purely on organic traffic.
Meanwhile, Suzy Smith two streets over had the same idea at the same time as Johnny. She completed all of the same steps Johnny did in terms of building the stand and prepping the lemonade, but instead of only relying on a single sign, little Suzy is a social butterfly. She’s told all her friends at school, she talked to the chess club, the cheerleaders, the football team, the teachers, her youth group at church, her Sunday school class, her Girl Scout group, she printed flyers and put them up around her neighborhood, handed flyers to neighbors and friends and asked them to post the flyers up in their neighborhood, she had her dad tell his golf buddies, her mom tell her book club friends, plus she randomly told people on the street who were total strangers about her lemonade stand this weekend.
When Suzy opens up her lemonade stand it is packed with people, and she sells over 200 cups of lemonade on the same day that Johnny only sells 10. She is relying on viral traffic.
Being social is key to any business, because the only way to get word out about your business is by telling people and advertising your services. And while some writers/bloggers/entrepreneurs understand (at least at a basic level) that they need to be doing some type of social media campaigns, few understand just how important it really is when it comes to exposure and bringing clients in. Fewer still are actually getting out there and making the rounds and putting in the effort to get the viral traffic. Instead, they are waiting and hoping and playing the loser’s game.
The above analogy might be fairly simplistic, but the gist of the example is true: the more people you are exposed to, the more sales you will make. Just look at any successful blogger/social media guru/passive income specialist and their activity online and you will see one thing that stands out: the more successful the individual, the more subscribers they have to their newsletters, followers on twitter, comments on their blog posts and so on and so forth. The more people you are exposed to, the more chances you have at finding people who are interested in your unique voice, and thus your products, services, blog and beyond.
I was reading a thread once in one of the writer’s forums I was once a member of during my freelancing days discussing whether or not you can be successful as an anti-social freelancer, and I noticed a trend. All of the people who complained about how they hated social media and disliked having to deal with people were the very same writers who were continually complaining how they were always broke, never had any gigs, only made 10-15 dollars per hour and were forced to rely on the scraps thrown from the table by the more successful writers.
They harbored discontent and blamed their circumstances on everyone else, but the reality of their plight was fairly simple: their lack of success was directly related to their dislike of being social. They are the Johnny’s of the writing world, with merely a blog or a website and no real desire to interact with people, instead relying only on those random few who happen to drive by and see their sign.
Meanwhile, successful writers, bloggers and social media maestros – namely, those who have a continual slew of work and regularly make a wage that has the anti-social Johnny’s frustrated and angry – are utilizing social media, keyword campaigns, newsletters and regular blog posts, and are making bank in comparison.
Having a website, writing and blogging isn’t just about creating the content. This is a business, just like any other, and if you want your business to be successful, you have to be willing to market the business. You can either pay someone else to do it for you (hire a social media manager or firm), or you can learn the ropes yourself and manage all of your social media campaigns organically. Writing/creating merely for the sake of writing/creating will never get you exposure or bring in traffic.
So here’s the thing. You can be little Johnny selling your ten cups of lemonade and be depressed and frustrated by the lack of business and success, or you can be like little Suzy and start actively promoting your business with social media outlets and have more work than you know what to do with. You can’t afford to be an anti-social writer or blogger if you want to make real money and enjoy real rewards…you have to be willing to get your face, your name and your brand out there, and build up a reputation that other people can rely on.
The previous section was an excerpt from the latest Marginal Boundaries publication, Beyond Borders – The Social Revolution.