Hey you. Rock star.
It isn't often that we here at Intrepid delve into making you a better whatever you want to be by actually telling you how to do it. We prefer to lead by example, sort of "do as we do, not as we say," because, frankly, we say a lot of stupid stuff.
But this time, I'm asking you to read this without a grain of salt. Tongue is out of cheek. Chains aren't being yanked.
In a nutshell: Just cool it with all the Facebook.
I'm coming at this in two ways. On the privacy front, we all know what Facebook has been up to. I even wrote a "real" column for another byline detailing the latest round of Facebook privacy concerns, and by "real" I mean the same crap I always do but with nerdier jokes.
From the promotional side, and I'm adding all social networks and media and marketing into this statement, I'm asking you to stop throwing spaghetti at the wall. Quality over quantity. Your social marketing campaign might be DIY, but it's still a campaign.
Now, don't stop reading this just because you're above it. Personally, I hate the term "social marketing," and I've cautioned against the evils since 2006.
But look, the moment we signed up for Intrepid, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. (and I'll get to why Intrepid should and shouldn't be in that list), we signed an internal contract with the Internet, our digital agent, to let as many people as possible know who we are and what we're up to. It doesn't matter if you're pimping a book, a business, or your kids (that came out wrong). Anyway, you're pimping. Big pimping.
So pimp like this:
1. Develop Your Online Self
Did you know that Mike Julianelle is actually a really nice guy, Jeff Walker isn't the least bit insane, and Michelle Von Euw doesn't even like sports? OK, the last one I made up, but the thing of it is, these are online personalities, extensions of the person they really are, but all dolled up for the purposes of the Internet.
From a promotional perspective, your online self should be the best of you, the one who says only the right things at the right time. The Internet is still mostly a one way medium, so you have time to think.
From a privacy perspective, no one needs to know too much about that online self. Sure, you have to draw from your life, but DRAW from it, don't open-book it.
2. Choose Wisely
This is the most important one.
Email is fine for people you know and who want to receive your missives. Adding new people without asking is kosher as long as you remind them that they can be removed without dusting up your friendship. Everyone gets spam. A lot of it. Be mindful.
Twitter is mandatory. It has become the go-to status update tool. I have several Twitter accounts, one personal, one for Intrepid, and so on. Twitter can replace a vanity page, a blog site, and an email marketing campaign.
There are several other social marketing options that all work the same way, whether we're talking about Facebook (look at me!) or LinkedIn (look at my resume!), or the tacked-on communities that spring up around brands or interests (look at Dawson's Creek!).
Decide which ones are right for you. Then when you post, decide which of your networks you should post to. Then, make sure that the message is different for each network, based on the vibe of that network.
I also have to add, Intrepid Media (and sites like us, if you want to believe there are sites out there like us) is not a social network. While Intrepid has some of the parts of social networking, that's mainly due to the fact that we've been around since 1999 and social networking has grown up around us.
But using Intrepid as an example, we're content delivery, and we're about building the personal brand through quality, entertaining, original pieces. We welcome everyone to do just that, but if you copy and paste what you wrote for the back cover of your book, we'll likely take it down.
3. Take Your Time Signing Up
At Intrepid, we used to have a feature where you could browse through a directory of all of our members. Of course, this was only the information they gave us and told us they wanted you to see, we've had all of those privacy checks in place since day 1. In fact, we were so cavalier about it we dubbed it the Stalker Page.
Times have changed. We took the page down about five years ago.
And not everyone is like us. So when you sign up for any social media site, know what you're getting into. Go through every aspect of the profile page and sign-up process, and balance how much you want people to discover about you against how much you want the wrong people to discover about you.
Then once there, be careful about how you interact. At some point, you have to, in your own brain, make the connection that if you tell Facebook you like Coke, Coke might be interested in that fact.
4. Think Before You Speak
Damn, my nuts itch!
Again, the beauty of the Internet is that you have time to rationalize what you're going to say and how you're going to say it and whether or not you should say it at all. This is also true in terms of self-promotion. If you're hesitating, that probably means walk away.
5. It's Not a Contest
You don't have to have the loudest voice or one that never shuts up. You don't have to post about everything you do, even those things you do in your creative pursuit. You don't have to have the most friends or connections or points or badges or bling.
But what you do say and what you do have should be quality.
We all know in life that it's not about how many friends you have but the value of the connection with those friends. We also know that no one likes a blabbermouth. I don't know what gets in the way that disrupts this thinking on the web. Well, I do know, but it's another column.
The point is, I'm still learning this particular adage. You should be too.
6. Do Your Homework
In my warped mind, the best thing about Intrepid is the read count on the columns, the fact that you know who is discussing you and we know who is critiquing you, and the smattering of analytics we provide to our members.
There are more out there. Use these tools as a guide to tell you whether or not you need to go through points 1-5 above and revamp at every step to make sure your time, and more importantly, your message, isn't wasted.
There. I'm done being all advisey. Next month will be about old people wearing young people clothes. I'll call it Abercrombie and Fifty. Happy now?
Joe Procopio trades in pop culture and tech culture, allowing him to poke fun at so many things. He's written for a number of online and offline publications from the late, lamented Smug to the fancy-pants Chicago Tribune and also for television. He's a novelist, a shredder, a joker, and a family man. Scoff at joeprocopio.com or follow on Twitter @jproco.
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IF YOU LIKED THIS COLUMN...
6.2.10 @ 9:30a
So, so true. I see a lot of people on social media just trying to be there as much as possible, but you can do yourself way more harm than good with the Pure Volume approach.
6.2.10 @ 9:33a
I've met Jeff. He's a little insane.
6.2.10 @ 11:12a
Off to the grocery store for Funyuns and Fresca.
6.2.10 @ 11:14a
Had a great trip to the grocery store, ran into my life coach who reminded me that the Radio Shack next door is having a sale on batteries. Score!
6.2.10 @ 11:19a
Is this getting annoying yet?
Great post Joe. Agree that IM is not a social networking site - but it most definitely counts as my first meaningful social experience online. The lesson there, I think, is that "meaningful" is often tied to "content."
When I'm cooking up social strategies for clients, in almost every instance the first line out of my mouth is "so what's our content strategy?"
The lines grow ever blurrier.
6.2.10 @ 1:21p
Holy cow that made me laugh. And in that it's actually a totally legitimate and quality pimp. Thank you.
6.2.10 @ 7:30p
You know, there are some of us out here - and by some, I might only be referring to me - who have an IM account just because we enjoy writing essay pieces for others' amusement on an erratic basis and find it cheaper than paying for our own hosting. I'm not at IM, or anywhere else on the Internet, to market myself.
Have I missed the point of being online? If I'm supposed to be pimping, could someone please direct me to the nearest haberdashery, so that I can get one of those cool wide-brimmed hats with the giant feathers?
6.2.10 @ 10:19p
"Some of us... enjoy writing essay pieces for others' amusement on an erratic basis" -- hey, sounds like a decent mission statement to me!
Write what you like, pimp if you like, and haberdash whatever level of haberdashery you feel appropriate. We do not discriminate on the basis of millinery.