Social media is the future. Like it or not it is.
I'm writing this today after reading a really great comment on my blog (on my Instagram post) that basically asked how important certain social media sites really were for growing an online business or blogging.
I've thought a lot about this question and the answer is that using social media has been one of THE most important methods of growing my readership here on Salsa Pie. If you ask me to explain how exactly, I'll tell you this: once I write a post or create something and post about it, I also share a link on my FB page, twitter and sometimes even pin a project on Pinterest. But it doesn't stop there. I also devote a day or 2 days in my schedule to reach out and communicate with a network of bloggers and people with online influence that have become my friends and colleagues.
It frustrates me when I read biographies of bloggers who say they have no clue how their blog became popular. The story usually goes something like this: their mother was the only one who read their blog and then suddenly, overnight, everyone in the world was reading it. Overnight, they were a sensation because they posted something fantastic and it went viral. They still aren't sure how. Sponsors called, opportunities knocked and suddenly they were getting paid doing what they love. But they don't know how it all happened. Maybe it was just because they were so fabulous?
This story is NOT true ever (I mean probably almost never ever, ever) so please don't believe it and please don't allow this to let you lose hope or think you don't have talent.
Blogging takes time and so does building a audience. Decide how much time you can devote each day to this endeavor and then be consistent.
So, now you know the secret: most bloggers that become a sensation overnight have really been working on becoming a sensation for quite some time. Most likely that work has entailed some rejection and even some hard lessons learned. Most bloggers that become an overnight sensation can attribute at least the start of their success to communicating with other bloggers. Why? Because the blogger community is also a community of blog readers and people of influence in the online world.
Oprah once said that she was in-touch and approachable because she communicated with real life people on a daily basis.
Reading other blogs you love and reaching out to bloggers isn't something you have to spend your entire day doing (and nobody expects you to) but it's an important part of networking. Do it in a genuine way and with bloggers you really like and you'll never be wasting time. What you are doing is building real friendships. Just ask any blogger who has ever met another blogger friend in person. Treat your blogger friends as true friends and don't ever imagine the online world as something that isn't "real". Like the telephone or television, communicating with others online is just another method of sharing information. When you network, you are not acting, you are communicating and if you aren't genuine, it shows.
If you can't afford to go to a blog conference don't give up trying to attend one but also don't put all your eggs in that basket. I still believe that social media networking is paramount.
So far I've had some pretty great opportunities open up as a result of my blog and while I'm still learning my way, I do think I've learned a great deal about navigating the social media waters. I write all of this to inspire you to see that almost nothing is overnight. And almost nothing comes easy. There are certainly events that can be "game-changers" but those only occur as a result of or in combination with a blogger putting out consistently good work.