Monday, March 25, 2013

Putting the (virtual) cart before the horse

Photo credit: chahad (stock.xchng)

It was a fitful weekend, and this Mouse was overdue for a good meander. After dinner plans with a friend got postponed, I decided to take a walk in one of my favorite places, the Floral Park neighborhood in Santa Ana.

It was a great time to walk – in the latter part of the afternoon, when the heat and sunshine that can interfere with a good walk were on their way out.

When I have nothing to do but put one foot in front of the other, it energizes my mind. I thought about which home tours I went on between 2009 and now. I thought about all of the spiders I discovered spinning giant webs between the trees. (If I were a spider, I’d choose Floral Park, too!) And, as oft happens, I thought about my career in writing and graphic arts and what I would do to improve it.

I remembered an article in Writer’s Digest about what today’s writers need to do in order to succeed. The top three suggestions were, I believe:

1. Sell yourself on Facebook.

2. Sell yourself on Twitter.

3. Sell yourself at every frigging opportunity you can think of.

With all of this selling, when will you find time to – ahem – write?

The people and companies that I follow on Facebook and Twitter give me real value. They are (mostly) people I liked before I found them on Facebook and Twitter – people I liked before Facebook and Twitter even existed.

Which gets me to the story of the cart and the horse.

The horse is your core message – who you are, what you have to offer the world, whatever it is that makes you a creature unlike any other.

The cart is your marketing program, whether it be social media or more old-fashioned types of advertisement.

If your horse is weak, it’s not going to pull your cart very far.

If you put so much effort into building your cart that you neglect your horse, you’re going nowhere.

If your message resonates, it will keep your social media cart rolling. You will have many followers because you will have earned them.

People who send out tons of boring, useless Tweets are the first to get unfollowed. People whose Tweets are always informative, entertaining, and/or helpful – whether or not they have anything to do with the business – will hold on to their current followers and add many more.

It’s the content of your content that matters.

In short:

1. You should spend no more than half an hour – if that – on your Twitter and (professional) Facebook accounts per day.

2. Before you post, ask:

     a. Is this relevant to my current and would-be followers?
     b. Would this post make me want to follow myself?
     c. Does this post make my business shine?

3. Feed your horse first, and your cart will go, go, go!


  1. You're welcome, Mary. That is my goal here. And thank you for following!