Social Media Networking Is A Lifestyle... Your Brand Is Your Culture... What Drives Your Blog?
(Wordy C is in the house so don't read this it if you ain't got 11 minutes and 16 seconds - LMAO)
I don't know about you but my blog is driven by whim, curiosity, creativity and crankiness coupled with a dash of humor, facetiousness, affection and warmongering. Sometimes, when you least expect it, I actually write something useful (LOL). Wanna learn something new and useful today? Cool. Stick around... I have plans and every intention of surprising you because I'm chilling with the newbs today. :-)
BTW, I like giving them new angles to pursue. Mentoring newbies is a fave thing of mine to do because helping them improve actually helps me improve. You want to get what you want? Simple: Help someone else achieve their goals and they will help you... Today's improvement project (or cow pie talking point)? Wordy C is about to teach you something neat about why group dynamics work and what happens when people fail to understand the synergy behind leveraging your blog posts in the right virtual network.
Fact # 1: Social Media Networking Is A Lifestyle... If you are alive, you can't escape your life and you have a lifestyle (LOL). It doesn't matter if it is stellar or if it sucks, it's yours to tweak or ignore as you please. If you are in social media, then you have a social media presence and persona, both facets of your lifestyle. Your virtual lifestyle is a spin off of your brick and mortar lifestyle. Hey - you- newb - I need for you to get this, so we're gonna do a two step virtual dance until you do (LOL).
Step #1: Get everyone on the same page regarding the phrase "Lifestyle." Lets go Wiki that puppy: "In sociology, a lifestyle is the way a person lives. A lifestyle is a characteristic bundle of behaviors that makes sense to both others and oneself in a given time and place, including social relations, consumption, entertainment, and dress. The behaviors and practices within lifestyles are a mixture of habits, conventional ways of doing things, and reasoned actions. A lifestyle typically also reflects an individuals attitudes, values or worldview. Therefore, a lifestyle is a means of forging a sense of self and to create cultural symbols that resonate with personal identity. Not all aspects of a lifestyle are entirely voluntaristic. Surrounding social and technical systems can constrain the lifestyle choices available to the individual and the symbols she/he is able to project to others and the self." You can read the full article here.
Step #2: Get everyone thinking about how their blog is an extension and reflection of their lifestyle. I am an advocate of original content. I am a cheerleader for original content. I harp on original content. I crave original content (LOL). When a writer writes original content they are exposing facets of their lifestyle and personality in their blog. Your attitudes, values and world view are laid bare for all the world to see. People who fake it usually get busted by someone who knows better sooner or later. Sometimes sooner, especially when he/she/their stupidity is repeatedly revealed through their strife filled, nit picking comments (among other things - LMAO).
Are we done dancing the two step yet? Cool. Lets move on to fact two... BTW, if you didn't get it and want to argue, repeat steps one and two until you do because I am not going to argue with you on this blog post. Seriously (LOL). ;-)
Fact #2: People like and dislike you based upon what they know and what they think they know about you. Perception is reality. You can not control how people see or feel about you but you can influence them for the better or worse. If you are a transparent writer you will connect on deeper levels with your readers and forge new social media relationships. Sometimes, they blossom into beautiful friendships. Other times, friendemies full of hatred, jealousy and strife. Some people are ambivalent and swing back and forth between the two. Keep who you like in your life, absorb what is useful, discard the rest and move on with dignity. Just because you forgive someone doesn't mean you have to take them back. Never obligate yourself with anyone... you have to be comfortable with your virtual life as well as your brick and mortar.
BTW, people do business with people that they like, so if you would take the time to pause from incessantly trolling for business you will discover that the people who like you will actually start sending you business because they trust something intangible about your writing and already feel connected. How do you get people to feel connected? By branding yourself and your projects. Branding adds value to your business and personal reputations. People make the mistake of branding and marketing their business while ignoring branding their name. If you change profession and leave the industry, who gets all that good will and SEO? Martha Stewart gets this. Warren Buffet gets this. You need to get this (LOL).
Fact # 3: Your Brand Is Your Culture... Think I'm kidding? Hmm... I'm quite serious. So serious that I am going to use my 2 cents to talk about approximately 2% of the 166,293 members writing in this forum under three particular group brands with similar, yet distinct characteristics:
Members: 0896 (0.005388% of AR), Posts: 23,016, Ratio 1:25.6875 for the ActiveRain Group: Club Chaos
Members: 0959 (0.005766% of AR), Posts: 18,962, Ratio 1:19.7727 for the ActiveRain Group: Whacked
Members: 1796 (0.010800% of AR), Posts: 23,389, Ratio 1:13.0228 for the ActiveRain Group: Diary of A Realtor
Now that we have defined who the 2 percenters are (LOL), lets talk about what they habitually do... (1) They are notorious for creating original content and the ones who don't have been busted for plagiarism and swiping photographs and tend to don't last there long. (2) They are notorious for writing a wide spectrum of topics in addition to posts about their professions. (3) They are notorious for chatting among themselves (serial commenting - LMAO) and fostering a sense of community and fun. (4) They are notorious for helping other people, frequently blogging for causes... Hmm... Are you ready for the Fifth Element? (5) They are notorious for being notorious (ROTFLMAO). ;-)
It's true! Think I'm kidding? Okay... Webster time: "Main Entry: no·to·ri·ous Pronunciation: \nō-ˈtȯr-ē-əs, nə-\ Function: adjective Etymology: Medieval Latin notorius, from Late Latin notorium information, indictment, from Latin noscere to come to know — more at know Date: 1534 : generally known and talked of; especially : widely and unfavorably known (synonyms see famous)."
Why are we considered notorious? Because blogging purists made us notorious (LOL). Those self proclaimed BPs who only want this network to be about Real Estate only b*tched and moaned sooooo much about us being on the fringe that people actually came over to see what the fuss was all about. They lurked, then some made up their own minds to stay and play in the Rain with us (LMAO). They liked the idea of having an on-line diary/journal. They also liked the idea of having a place to let your hair down and take a break to be just as whacked, jacked and chaotic as they see fit. People even e-mailed me and asked how do I get an invitation? So I read their blog and if they made me laugh I sent them one (LOL).
People with a quirky sense of humor tend to gravitate towards people they can share their humor with. We all enjoy having a good time and would rather laugh than not, so our groups make real estate fun simply by having periodic bouts of spontaneous laughter and teasing 24/7/365. You just never know what to expect if you hang out with us. Bring your listings. Bring your blogs. Bring your cats. Bring your dogs. As long as you bring you what more can blogging buddies ask for? :-)
Expect the unexpected is a subconscious precondition fostered from being exposed to adventurous writers. Groups were created so that people could share an adventure with their fave wordsmiths. SEO? Marketing? Career Advice? Cooking? Reading? The category doesn't matter. Readers have an expectation that us writers are going to take them on a virtual ride to somewhere... Pssst... check this out: Writers are also readers, but some of you act as if you need to be reminded of that little factoid (LOL). Stop trying to edit someone else's work and go write your own blog post if inspired with an idea that you think is better. Most people love their own ideas so don't be mean to them if you don't. Play nice in the electronic sand box people. You can agree to disagree and or simply move on. ;-)
Now that we have defined what some of the writers do, lets talk about what some of the founders, admins and moderators of these group do to encourage their writers to keep on writing (LOL). Ready? The secret to our success is the fact that we advocate Google Domination. Richard Weisser, the founder of Whacked, likes to "own" his search terms. Yours truly, one of the founders of Club Chaos, seconds that notion in spades.
I am a Google Whore and am very proud of that digital fact. Search Engine Optimation and Social Media Optimization is what I do and why I go to so many diverse places on my blog. People find me because they are searching for something else, a topic in common I took the time to write about. The term "Club Chaos" holds two positions on page one of Google that I am trying to virtually "own." Within Results 1 - 10 of about 15,300,000 for club chaos, look for ActiveRain Group: Club Chaos and ClubChaosAgents.com (our team blog). BTW, LittleMinionTV Club Chaos videos are on page two because of the search term (LOL).
Moderators who care help our writers do this as well by teaching them to share link love and promote other groups. Ooooo. Did I shock you? Learned something new, did you? We have 5 groups we can syndicate to. Why wouldn't a founder encourage writers to overlap into another group? It grows both groups. If I am in a mood for a mini-rant my brain is already thinking BanannaTude, MANCROW, Whacked, Jacked and Club Chaos. If I am being serious my mind is already thinking Realtors, Dedicated Bloggers, Donald Trump Fan Club, Seth Godin Fan Club, Club Chaos (LOL). Perky and full of sugar and caffeine? Positive Attitude for the Weary Soul, Fraishe Air, Happy at ActiveRain, Club Choas...
Groups have flavor. A single stupid moderator can ruin the experience for writers and readers if they have a personal agenda contrary to the flavor of a group. Delete a writer you personally don't like enough simply because you don't like them and they will eventually withdraw from your group. With them, the readership that they bring to your table. Less readers equals less branding power. Branding is about creating value in associations. Free no-name brand versus free Nikes - which free sneakers will you choose? I am going for the Nikes, even if the same factory made both shoes. Why? Because I KNOW Nike.
Branding Club Chaos is fun for me. Helping other founders brand their groups is fun as well. We learn a lot from each other. Lets do an experiment on a brand name that has been picked on unfairly. Wanna Google Cosmic Cow Pie? Go ahead. Dare ya. It's a brilliant branding mechanism created by Carra Reilly, who dominates the phrase out of about 238,000 for cosmic cow pie. Who likes cow pies? People all over the world (LOL). You don't get six figures worth of Internet entries unless there is an interested population. Whether it be the game (cow pie bingo), the candy or cakes and pies, guess who they find first when they Google the phrase? They find Carra. How cool is that? Very! (LOL)
Lets also discuss the fact that these three groups each have more than 30% of their membership overlapping with each other. If you add Cosmic Cow Pie into the equation it is more like over half (LMAO). Psssst... If you want the true numbers with decimal point fractions you're gonna have to bribe me with Hagen Daz or do your own bean counting (LMAO). But I digress... The members overlap because the type of posts we nurture fit so well within our group charters, flavors and personalities. We're attracted to each other, rely on each other, help each other and talk among ourselves every single day. Since there are approximately 6092 groups (and counting) to choose from on the ActiveRain Real Estate Network, you should be aware that you don't need to be in a huge group, you need to be in a group that fits your personality. In order to figure that out you need to visit a group, observe it, comment with your fave writers and carefully consider what it is you are joining and why you are joining it.
These three groups are about cultivating personal relationships and sharing personal thoughts. They are not real estate centric as a primary goal. Your profession is secondary to you, the person if you are in these groups. We put the person first and the profession second and you need to get this because if you don't you will inadvertently create strife trying to turn us into something that we are not. We are about what interests a person. If your job is the only interest you have, then you have my empathy, sympathy and condolences for a wasted life (LMAO).
Did I piss someone off? Excellent! Now you're thinking about your life and the things that matter to you.
Founders who care believe their groups matter to them. They are our virtual children. We will protect them from your crap. Do yourself a favor and look at the individual branding of each group, rather than the people you love to hate who happen to be running a few of them, because you think we have something that you don't have. You do have it, you just refuse to do the work it takes to make it happen.
Wanna knock the 25 rivals you think you have off of page one of the groups page? Here, let me help you (I really am going to help you). You can start by learning two extremely important points about the dynamics of branding from Wikipedia's definition page:
Point #1: ";;Some people distinguish the psychological aspect of a brand from the experiential aspect. The experiential aspect consists of the sum of all points of contact with the brand and is known as the brand experience. The psychological aspect, sometimes referred to as the brand image, is a symbolic construct created within the minds of people and consists of all the information and expectations associated with a product or service.";; Wikipedia
Point #2: ";;People engaged in branding seek to develop or align the expectations behind the brand experience, creating the impression that a brand associated with a product or service has certain qualities or characteristics that make it special or unique. A brand is therefore one of the most valuable elements in an advertising theme, as it demonstrates what the brand owner is able to offer in the marketplace. The art of creating and maintaining a brand is called brand management. Orientation of the whole organization towards its brand is called integrated marketing.";; Wikipedia
All groups have certain qualities or characteristics that make them special or unique: The people writing for them.
If you are not willing to help and protect your writers, then what makes you think they would be willing to protect, help and write for you? Remember that the next time you say something incredibly stupid in Facebook, on ActiveRain and/or a host of other social media accounts. The people who gravitate and hang around with me learn pretty quickly that I only pretend to be a silly social media boob. Spoof might as well be my middle name (LOL). Silly is disarming... and for the people who are having a really tough time surviving in this economy, disarming fun can be quite appealing and charming.
Who wouldn't want to enjoy a moment of laughter to forget about the fact that their heart is breaking in real life?
Play nice in the electronic sandbox, people. You have no idea how many people count on our playful misbehavior. They look forward to it, which is why some of us write some of the things that we do write... We are not as stupid as the self proclaimed blogging purist would try and make you believe... We have a life that we love to share so we share it. Not a complicated concept. There is beauty in simplicity...
A final word for my dear newbies: Go have fun with your blogs. Feel free to send me your links. I love visiting your posts, do not always comment, but do lurk a lot. You can talk about anything you want that you are comfortable with. Take your time and have fun with it.
You can even cry if you want to... :-)