I know lots of people who are social media veterans and just as many who are newbies. I try to encourage the rookies when I see them getting frustrated because I know that all this social media stuff is worth it. Lots of people quit, though. Too many.
When I first started tweeting and blogging, I felt like I was on mute. Hello? Is this thing on? It's easy to get discouraged when you feel like you're putting in the effort, but no one cares. Here's where the words of wisdom kick in: you have to believe in yourself and the tools. They work. You just have to use them correctly.
When you first get started, you're probably right. No one cares about your blog post or about your carefully crafted tweet. If you start to engage with your online communities, though, people will begin to notice you. They will come to recognize your avatar in their Twitter streams, notice your profile picture on their Facebook News Feed, or grow familiar with your photo in a LinkedIn discussion group. That's where the relationship begins. But, it is up to YOU.
Don't wait for someone to say, "Hey, come join the cool kids' table. We've been waiting for you!" It's up to you to reach out first. Yeah, I know, not everyone is comfortable doing that. But, get over it. It's how social media works. Sure, there are some nice folks who send a tweet to welcome newbies or who will introduce you around. Unfortunately, not enough people do that. Again, the power rest in your hands. Make it happen!
Persistence is the key word here. Keep at it. Don't give up because you feel like you're an audience of one. You know the saying, winners never quit and quitters never win!
My early posts got very little traffic and it took me awhile to get my first comment, but this week I was excited to earn a spot on Sparkah.com's "LA's Top 100 Bloggers You Should Take to Lunch" list! No, I haven't hired a virtual assistance to handle all my lunch bookings yet, but it was neat to be recognized. Think that would have happened if I had thrown in the towel? Not a chance.
Remember, Twitter is a TWO-WAY platform! If you talk at people you'll go nowhere fast. If you talk with people, Twitter will change your life! Listen to the discussions, chime in with your opinion, be encouraging, answer questions, provide guidance, lend support--become a contributing member of the community!
Too many folks abandon their blogs for months, and even more people open a Twitter account and then forget about it after seven tweets. Don't do it, my friends. Stay active! Maybe you can't live and breathe this stuff like the social media addicts, but stay in touch with your online network. These aren't websites we're talking about; we're talking about people! Work to establish those connections, then feed and water them. They'll only grow if you give them the care they need.
Alright, that's the end of my rah-rah, cheerleader speech. But, trust me, these online communities are powerful. They can grow your brand, develop your professional network, and help create wonderful, new friendships. The only trick is you can't give up. Let me repeat, failure is not an option.
Have a social media success story to share or a challenge to overcome? I'm all ears...