Have you read UnMarketing by Scott Stratten yet? It’s a great read, and I think if you are new to the world of Twitter and Social Media, it could be akin to a holy grail. Anyway, one of the things that Scott talks about in there is how he spent a lot of time building his community on Twitter before he started blogging. Then once he published his first blog post, he had thousands of people ready to read what he had to say.
My response in my head was, “Man, I don’t know what I would have talked about when I was first starting on Twitter if I hadn’t had some blog posts to tweet out.” However, like on so many things, I have now learned to see things from a different perspective.
So you’re Blogger Baggins
You’ve been gifted, unknowingly, a huge gift. It’s called the Media of Power, and it enables you to reach thousands of people with everything you say. Your job is to use this powerful tool to accomplish whatever goal you have, whether it’s personal branding, building a business, or promoting a business that already exists. But you’re kind of small potatoes in the great big world of Social Media, right? And there are all kinds of dangers and risks round these parts. Not so much talking trees, but definitely talking trolls.
You’re not all that different from Frodo Baggins. He had, originally, a single challenge. Get the ring of power to the town of Bree, and then big powerful Gandalf would take over. But Frodo didn’t start his journey alone, did he? No indeed. Frodo started out with his Sam.
You won’t get far without your Sam
One disadvantage you have in comparison with Mr. Frodo is that you probably (I’d wager) don’t have a wizard assigning someone to be your friend. If you do, then you probably need to leave off here and go to a very different kind of blog. But anyway, let’s assume that you are well in mind and spirit. How do you find your Sam?
In fact, finding your Sam in Social Media is not about finding just 1 person, but it’s really about finding a lot of Samwise Gamgees. Some call this community building. I like to refer to it as “making friends.” However you name it, you need to look for people who are willing to travel the wilds of the Social Media world with you. These are people who have similar interests to you, probably. They may have similar perspectives on things. They may be coming into Social Media just like you, or maybe you look to them for help and support because they’ve been around longer.
There are lots of ways to meet your Sam. Some of these ways include:
• Interacting with people in chats – you know there is a common interest there
• Looking for comments in your stream that catch your interest – start talking to that person
• Search for words that would be important to you and start connecting with those people
• Comment on blogs that you like – that gives you a really good idea of what someone is like, and they get to know you, too
Let’s talk about wizards for just a second
As a footnote, there are Gandalfs in this space, and there are also Sarumans. Both claim great power, but only one will guide you in the ways of good. If you can find yourself a Gandalf, you have found yourself a trailblazer. Stay close.
Arrows and Axes
For a long part of his journey, Frodo benefited from the protection of a dwarf, Gimli, and an elf, Legolas. These two swore to protect Frodo and his ring of power. Now, you don’t want to necessarily look for people who will protect you, although sometimes you do need help beating that cave troll. What these fellows can do is help spread the word about you. They can go out into this huge space and say, “Hey! Look at what this person is doing!” They can find other friends for you too, like maybe a Treebeard type friend who will herd all kinds of other friends together for you. These kinds of people are what some might call brand evangelists, but I always kind of squirm at that phrase. I like to call them supportive people. Who like to talk. A lot. About you.
Beware of the Gollums and Boromirs
As you build your fellowship, you must always be aware of people who might try to rip away whatever you’re building. Sometimes these people can approach you as if they want to be part of your ring of friends, but something in them makes them dangerous when it comes to your objectives. Maybe they come and argue with you on your blog no matter what. Maybe they spread rumors about you. Who knows why. Maybe they are jealous of your success. Maybe they’re just really bored.
You’ll become the king and find yourself among kings
As you build your fellowship – as you build your own blog, your own voice, and your own community of Sams and Gimlis and maybe a Gandalf or two, you will find that people whom you consider kings will suddenly start to say, “Oh, cool, another king’s in town.” Maybe they won’t say it exactly like that, but that will be the sentiment. The important thing when you become a king is to remember that you would never have gotten there without your fellowship. The other important thing to remember is that the best king makes sure everyone in the fellowship becomes a king too. Your job is not done when you find success. That’s how kings get overthrown.
Behind every successful blog there lies a fellowship
If you look at some of the big blog success stories, you will find that a lot of the story interwoven into those sites is how they are supported by the community. Building your fellowship can start right away, right now. In fact, the earlier you start, the better, not only because you’ll grow faster but also because as you find success, you’ll have a larger fellowship to share it with.
Who’s in your fellowship? Let’s start building. Let’s start walking. There’s a long way to go.
1st image credit: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/noyoo
2nd image Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/anishaaa
3rd Image by Vedrana Bosnjak. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/veke