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Embracing Social

I’m always surprised to find digital business owners that are not social savvy.

Actually, maybe I’m not anymore. I couldn’t begin to tally the amount of no response situations I find myself stumbling into. Be it an e-mail or a DM, there’s an alarming amount of business owners that just are not embracing social.

If millionaire, 400+ employee agency owners like Gary Vaynerchuck can do it, as well as billionaire’s like Cuban — you can too. In fact, I’d argue a very strong case that you’re going to be sorry in a year or two.

We’re moving more and more into the age of reputation business building — are you ready?

Why do you find social so difficult?

Last night I had the opportunity to appear on Episode 39 of the WP Round Table podcast and discuss how I do things differently. I do a lot with my agency and with my products and it isn’t easy. I run with a lot of irons in the fire, which is natural for today’s entrepreneur. Shiny object syndrome is very real and I fully embrace that as a weakness of mine while on the other hand, see it as a strength.

Part of this daily chaos is engaging friends, colleagues, and followers on Twitter. When I was asked how I planned my day, I certainly didn’t outline a time box plan for Twitter engagement. It’s just something I do in a passive way.

I enjoy having conversations and banter with others. It’s also a way to keep tabs on opportunity as it arises. While you have to get out of your seat to grow your business, the real-time dynamics of Twitter can be just as fruitful.

But why do so many people find social so difficult or at the very least — not valuable?

My friend Jon just quit Twitter while my other friend, Coen, steps into the spotlight. Two polar opposite situations happening here.

The point of being on social is for the conversation. Good or bad, it’s relationship building  that is hands down most valuable thing you can do, in my humble opinion. I understand there are certain health risks, but I’d argue that running a business itself is 10x the risk/stress versus engaging in a troll conversation.

Your social fix

I put 80% of my social effort into Twitter and then divvy up the rest between Facebook and Google+.

Here’s some advice for getting started on either platform as a solopreneur running your digital business:

Hold a Google Hangout and bring the chat to Twitter

Call it a webinar, a podcast, or a web show at the end of the day it’s video content creation at it’s finest. You’re creating evergreen content that can be reused on many platforms and you’re audience building.

By taking the conversation to Twitter, you can use a branded hashtag for your product, like I do with #condcutorplugin.

Look at that, you’re killing two birds with one stone.

Join a group that fits your market

If you’re into selling WordPress products or services and you’re not a member of Advanced WordPress group, you’re missing out on some good conversation.

Sure, it get’s a bit spammy and very low-level (opposite of what the name implies) but they have the best admins that I’ve ever seen in a group like this. They keep the ship going in the right direction, much better than I do in the Google+ WordPress Entrepreneur group.

It’s also very easy to engage in a group from your mobile device, so no excuses.

Get in the habit or get left in the dust

I don’t want to tell you that you have to make time to engage with people, because that’s forcing your  hand.

If you’re not naturally interested in having conversations with others, especially when you can gain important feedback on your product, you’re doing it wrong. You simply cannot hide behind your computer screen and look at Google Analytics and Sublime Text editor for the life of your business.

Imagine going to a WordCamp and not having 1 single conversation. What was the point of attending?!

As we move into the reputation economy, not just in WordPress, but in all of tech startup life — how will you engage with your audience?

Why play in someone else’s sandbox when you can have your own?

I know what you’re going to tell me: “A high performer will still find inroads to success.” 110% Agree. So I’ll share another high performer that I follow closely, Jason Calacanis.

Here’s a guy that had his business, Mahalo, crushed by Google.

Sure he’s got some money to rebuild, but he’s also got a massively passionate following from This Week in Startups — including yours truly.

He also has a massively successful Angel List backing totaling $1.8 million from 497 backers as of this writing. Why? Because he consistently builds his audience through the show and through his events.

He’s not afraid of social. He embraces it.

So when will you become more social? 

When Facebook changes it’s algorithm? Done.

When Google slays your author profile? Check.

When WordPress.org adopts new featured plugins? It’s coming.

When searching for themes is flipped on it’s head? Also coming.

So while your building your business, stay in touch with us. We don’t want to hear from you when the ship is sinking. If we enjoy your product, we want you to keep in touch. We’re real customers and we’re happy to help.

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