I know! I know! After months of searching, finally you’ve discovered someone has the secret, and you’re here to get it! Well, okay, maybe I’m being a bit facetious. But rule #1 of writing a good blog post is having a catchy title. And hey, it got you here, didn’t it?
Seriously though, lately I’ve been putting a lot of thought into what makes someone successful in social media. I, like most others, don’t make a penny off of writing this blog. The other day I wrote a post about Why I Blog. The points I make there are valid and true, but what it doesn’t explain is why I travel around in these circles.
Since I was introduced to social media back in 2006 at Podcamp Toronto, I’ve been a pretty active player. I’ve got accounts on all the major sites (well, oddly, MySpace has never really appealed to me, but that’s neither here nor there), I regularly read and comment on lots and lots of blogs, and I’ve even been fortunate to be a guest blogger here, here and here. I have quite a few followers on Twitter, and somewhat sizeable networks on LinkedIN and Facebook.
But does that make me successful? Just having lots of links and friends and blog posts? Maybe that stuff is kind of important, because it helps me to get my ideas out there, and in particular it helps me to connect and learn from what others have to offer. But I really think that the SIZE of your network is not important.
Defining success is a very personal thing. Success is based on the goals you set for yourself. My goals for social media are as follows (in no particular order) -
- Have fun meeting, talking and collaborating with people from around the world
- Have an outlet for all this crazy stuff that whirls around in my head all the time
- Make some connections that may be of value in my career/job/business
So if that’s how I personally define my success, what’s my secret for achieving it? It’s pretty simple, actually…two steps.
Who Are You Linked To?
Operating successfully in social media is not about being Facebook friends with A-list bloggers and Twitter friends with SnoopDog. Whether you are an individual or a business, it’s about finding people who share common interests to you. It’s like going down to the local pub, bellying up to the bar, and striking up a conversation with whoever is sitting next to you. One of two things will happen: either you will make some kind of connection on either a personal or business level (or both), or you will have a pleasant chat for a few minutes and then slide down to the other end of the bar. You either make a connection or you don’t. It can’t be forced. You just have to let it happen.
You Make Your Own Opportunities
The wisest woman in the world, my Mom, said this to me when I was just a kid. “You can’t sit around and wait for stuff to fall in your lap, because it will never happen.” You have to find out what you want, then do what it takes to get it. I listened to my Mom, and to this day, I’m not one to sit around passively waiting for everyone and everything to come to me. I decided to participate in social media. I introduce myself to people online, go to meetups and Podcamps and seminars by myself when I don’t know anyone. I get in touch with people if I feel I have something of value to contribute to what they are doing. As a result, I get opportunities to collaborate with amazing, brilliant people. I also sometimes get opportunities for my business. And best of all, I get to create, and share, and learn.
This is MY secret, to MY success in social media. Your secrets and how you gauge your success may be very different. I feel good about the contribution I make, and most importantly, I have fun doing it. If it wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t still be here, that’s for sure.
What’s your secret?