I’m going to write three words now that you don’t see very often in the Social Media world.
I was wrong.
I’m prepared to eat some crow, too.
What I’ve learned in the last month
I often say that time in Social Media moves quickly and slowly at the same time. We can communicate instantly, so we can get a lot of thoughts out there, but we’re also building a knowledge base and relationships, which can take time. I’m not sure if a month in this world is a long time or a short time, but I’ve learned quite a lot since I wrote that post. Namely:
• In Social Media, you have to be proactive. You can’t depend upon people to spread your tweets around or to build up your blog following. If you want people to read your stuff, you have to ask them. Nicely.
• Silence does not get rewarded. A month ago, I was noting that I didn’t promote my blog posts a lot because I’m not after blog traffic or a certain number of comments. That’s still true. However, there are reasons to send your work out there that extend beyond Klout or your “social influence number.” I am proud of some of the posts I write (I try to only hit publish when the post meets my own standards) and I think that what I am sharing could be of use to people whom I wish to help (at least that’s my hope). These reasons are enough to motivate me to spread the word a bit more about what I have going on here.
• People are around at different times. Around the time that I wrote the post, I had debated with Dan Perez (@danperezfilms) during a blogchat about the promotion issue. He said he tries to post links to his blog as often as possible. When Dawn Westerberg commented on the post, she noted that she also will tweet a post more than once. As I’ve gotten even a bit more familiar with Twitter (the learning never stops) I’ve come to realize that it’s really true – you start to see what times are good for posting links and what times are dead as door nails. And guess what? It varies day by day. There is no set, fast rule.
A symptom of not owning it
I am a pretty darned humble person when it comes right down to it. Maybe it’s my Midwestern sensibility. I feel awkward when someone’s opening a nice present I’ve given them. I don’t like to make a big deal out of good things that I’ve done or that happen to me. If you are like that, let me tell you that while you don’t need to be an egomaniacal jerk in Social Media, you have to come to a half-way point where you can at least invite people to judge your work for themselves.
I was not doing this.
I was meekly going over to Twitter and saying, “Um, if you happen to be around *right now* it would be kind of okay if you went and read my, well, I wrote something, and *shuffle shuffle*, er…uh..”
This was symptomatic of me not owning my mission. This was symptomatic of me thinking that maybe what I was saying was really just…not that important in the end.
You have to at least believe that your work – on your blog, in your business, in your Twitter stream – is worth talking about. Not bragging about. But talking about.
An even balance
That being said, there are still a lot of things I said a month ago that I stand by. I don’t schedule tweets that blast out 3-4 blog posts throughout the day. I want to converse with people and engage. Blasting out a broadcast isn’t the way to get there. I don’t tweet out my post every 7 seconds. Depending on when I write a post, I’ll probably not tweet it more than 4 times before I write my new post. That’s still not a lot. There are still a lot of people who won’t see it. But I’m careful about when I time things and I have certain goals to shoot for now in terms of blog performance (rather than feeling inexplicably happy or frustrated with each post I write).
I’m also trying to do a better job of promoting people who take the time to comment on my posts. I’m inviting people not just to talk with me, but also to talk with the people who are in the conversation. Talking to 1 person can get boring. Talking to lots of new people about lots of different topics seems a little better.
Don’t be shy
If you are investing time and effort into blogging and working and tweeting, make sure people see it. Own it. Show that you believe in what you are doing. If people smell that you are hesitant about promoting your own work, what will drive them to help you build your community? Nobody wants to help build a village in the bog of eternal stench, right? You can promote yourself without being a jerk about it. You can drive traffic to a blog post without being a braggart. It is not a black and white choice. It is not a this or that scenario. That was the mistake I made a month ago.
Does this help you?
Where do you stand on promoting your work? Do you find it hard, as I was finding it hard a month ago, to get out there and talk about what you are doing? Talk to me in the comments about how we can help you find your blog promotion balance.