Wednesday, March 16

How To Win With Social Media: Do Something Else

Gertrude McFuzzThere once was a girl blogger named Gertude McFuzz. And if the name sounds familiar, it should.

She is inspired by Theodor Seuss Geisel, the American writer and cartoonist better known by the name Dr. Seuss. And in his story, of course, Gertude McFuzz was but a sad little bird with the smallest tail feather ever.

But I know plenty of bloggers and social media enthusiasts who feel equally blue. They spend most of their days and nights gazing upward, ever upward at fancier bloggers and tweeters and face-bookers too. They're just like the bird McFuzz followed; her name is Lolla-Lee-Lou.

"If only I had more followers and friends and traffic and clicks," McFuzz would lament. "Then people would notice me."

So they scoured the net, looking for tips and gimmicks and tricks and top ten lists. There are plenty of remedies for them to find too, you see. Of course, most of them are tied to promoting other bloggers or investing cash money. In fact, all of those social media experts, with their heads in the clouds, are mysteriously supported by those searching on the ground.

But no matter. Most of the bloggers with a name like McFuzz are equally content to give each other some lift. They'll promise to give you a leg up, if you give me a click. And that might even work for awhile, those bubble building networks, exchanges and schemes. People promising something reciprocal, even if no one reads anything their fellow followers put up, as it seems.

Sooner or later, deflated and nearly beaten, some bloggers like McFuzz will eventually try cheating. And much like the bird who ate from the pill-berry bush, their numbers will soar.

"It's easy to buy followers when you go to the store," said McFuzz, feeling better much like a bird with a plume full of feathers.

McFuzzEventually, however, it all crashes down. McFuzz will run out of hours in the day or run out of bought buzz. That is what happens when you promise a reciprocal ratio of 1:1 (or 1:10 if they're famous) or spend all your savings on potions, elixirs.

So wait, what's the answer? In the story by Dr. Seuss, it was simple enough. Just be yourself and be happy about stuff. Other people have said it, so enough about that is enough. I'll go a step further than Dr. Seuss for anyone who sometimes feels like McFuzz.

Do something else.

It really is that simple. Do something. The truth about blogging specifically, and social media more broadly, is that only two kinds of people ever really soar more than a few feet off the ground. Either you become one of those who climb higher on the promise you'll teach those below what you learned or you do something.

It doesn't really matter what it is, as long as it's something. Take a long hard look at some of the "most successful" bloggers and social networkers (besides those who operate Ponzi schemes). What you are likely to find is a whole bunch of people who do something. They are speakers, authors, musicians, publishers, business owners, marketing professionals, programmers, photographers, artists, travelers, creators, etc.

So maybe it's time you remembered to flip the scale. If you invest all your time sharing, following, reading, commenting, and promoting everyone else to get ahead, you will eventually run out of time to do anything worthwhile enough to be noticed.

Right. There are only a few micro-famous people who ever got ahead on social media alone. Most of the people who succeed are too busy doing something else entirely. And then, after that (or in between non-social projects at least), they use social media to talk about it. Or, if you need a more direct example — visit an author blog or two.

And then ask yourself — did social networks make them an author or did becoming an author make them successful at social media? The split is probably somewhere around 99-1, with the great majority being people who took the time to do something.
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