All good little bloggers do their research. We study successful sites, read the ProBlogger/Copyblogger duo. Some of us take courses. Others buy books. There is so much freaking information online to help us become better at social media, but many of us don’t realize is that learning can trap us into not actually using social media in a way that’s going to have an affect.
Last week I worked with the wonderful Sukie Baxter on her Twitter profile and noticed an interesting trend. Sukie works in the health and wellness field as a “Movement Specialist and Rejuvenation Maven”. When I first put together her Personalized Twitter Strategy we talked about her goals: attract more followers and be seen as an authority in her field.
Pretty straightforward. Problem was, as awesome as she already was on Twitter and as well-versed as she is in her field, she was falling into what I like to call… dum dum dum…
The Social Media Trap: Connecting only with people in marketing/social media/entrepreneurship because that’s what you’re learning to grow your blog/business/etc. Instead of connecting with your potential and ideal audience, you only connect with people teaching you how to connect.
Sukie is a lady entrepreneur. To grow her business she was learning about marketing and social media and talking to coaches and other lady entrepreneurs. She was not, however, talking to other health experts. Instead of retweeting articles from other wellness blogs she was retweeting marketing articles. Meaning the followers she accumulated wouldn’t actually care about her health tips or blog posts. This doesn’t get her clients. This doesn’t get her blog traffic. This gets her stuck in a niche she had no intention of entering. This, my friends, is the Social Media Trap.
We’ve All Been There
My name is Marian and I’ve been caught in The Trap. This is something I have to work on constantly. While I hate the term “social media consultant” I am what I am and need to make a conscious effort to not just talk to other social media people. I specialize in authors and most authors aren’t trolling around Chris Brogan’s site or studying blog techniques. No, they’re on writer’s forums and following literary agents. That’s where I need to be.
Do you know what helped bring in two new clients? A Q&A on Alexis Grant’s site – a blog where many authors chill out and engage. Do you know what didn’t do shit? My guest post about Twitter backgrounds on Ask Aaron Lee.
My point is this: unless social media is your niche, you need to step away from the blogs about blogging once in a while. For example, ProBlogger is one of my favorite sites; I always get something of value when I visit. But it’s important to realize that engaging with and commenting on every post and person involved with ProBlogger isn’t going to grow my business. This doesn’t mean we should stop learning, it means we need to really engage with the people who actually care what we have to say.
So how do you know if you’re in The Trap?
- Are you retweeting the same people over and over?
- Do your tweets and blog posts revolve mostly around social media?
- When was the last time to actually engaged with someone IN YOUR FIELD?
- List the top 5 blogs you read. Are they mostly blogs about blogs or are they niche-specific?
Tips to Combat The Trap
The best way to dig yourself out of your trap is to really research the people and publications who are doing what you want to be doing. In Sukie’s case: health blogs and magazines, fitness experts, massage therapists… See who these people are engaging with to act as a guideline for how you should conduct yourself.
If you’re only engaging with those who teach about engaging, you’re not actually using social media in a way that’s going to help you grow. You’ll be one of those people whining about how Twitter doesn’t work, when really, you’re sort of going to a gym watching people work out hoping it will rub off. Sorry peaches, doesn’t work that way.
Here’s the thing: All networking is good networking. But if you’re wondering why you haven’t gotten any new clients lately or why all you seem to be doing is tweeting about tweeting – reevaluate your engagement… Are you falling into the Social Media Trap??