Why Social Signals You Cultivate Are Valuable

Being social takes effort and if you really commit to the “time sink” that is social media, you will understand just how long you are going to have to chase and refine what you do in order to win.

Winning is subjective in that one person’s win in social media, is another person’s fail, it depends on your goals, and whether you’ve selected the right ones.

I list here some ideas on where time is sunk, to give you more of a wake up call. You should never hand over your hard work so easily. It is not something you should do without serious thought on what you receive in return.

Why Social Signals You Cultivate Are Valuable

It should be obvious why on the face of it but in order to explore this idea further I’ve broken this article down into some key areas;

  • Attraction
  • Cheating (which is referred to as “gaming”)
  • Loyalty
  • Approach
  • Exodus (going beyond just a lack of social retention)
  • Momentum

 

Making the Share Attractive

Is where most people on social media spend 90% of their time. Social media is based around “signals”, a concept you will see me refer to a lot in this article. In order to conform to attractiveness there are lots of hoops to jump to put your audience at ease.

• Visually attractive images
• Eye grabbing titles
• Witty descriptions
• Correctly used hashtags
• Links

Then you need the following to seal the deal;

• Deployment at the correct time
• Rabid followers to push up early numbers

Deployment at the correct time puts you in the right window to gain traction. You need the Rabid followers (your circle of common engagers) to bump up the numbers so that your item will appear in the wider viewing sphere.

• You can further endow social share with cash, cold hard cash. Facebook, Twitter and all the big platforms give you a bigger bite at a wider audience with your hard earned doubloons.

Everything snowballs from there (but only if it is good). You could spend the advertising money on something that is actually terrible, so whilst you might get views, you won’t get signals. Signals are what you want. Signals means shares, shares mean visitors, visitors means subscribers, subscribers means direct traffic, direct traffic means potential income stream, but definitely a huge pat on the back from the search engines (which means more traffic).

Engagement is the goal. Not visitors alone.

 

“Gaming” the System

I’ve seen it advertised many times, and there are many third party bolt-ons to platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram. I would strongly recommend that you stay away from trying to game followers.

Why?

Fact: Gamed followers aren’t “real” followers.

Q: What’s better about a “real” follower?

A: Real followers actually engage with your work, and follow your point of view (but might not always agree with it). These people are real in the sense that you’ve provided them something they like in the past, and that they would do something for you in return as a thank you.

It’s also better you know how to gain friends.

 

All Followers are Fickle – Every Relationship has an Expiry Date

Which is to say that given time, people will abandon you for a number of logical reasons, but may touch base with you in passing again in the future (as long as they didn’t leave for negative reasons).

Social Media is a moving, evolving feast.

You will receive different types of engagers during your journey.

Followers may connect with you purely based on the fact that they are “gaming” their followers. In that case I would recommend that you observe some form of sense-making screen before you allow that connection. Does their association work for you or not? I would say that you should screen all those who connect with you, like you would if this was something you were doing on a personal level.

There are those who have an “expectation” on reciprocity. In other words, they will continue to interact with your work (whether they truly like it or not) as long as you do the same in turn. The ease of that will depend on how much they push out, and for more ‘active’ producers, that intensity might be too much to satisfy. If you stop being their agent (turning in your aid), they’ll stop being your agent but that doesn’t mean they won’t return in future.

  • There will be followers who are genuinely interested in what you are providing and who may be experts themselves. These are the kinds of follower who can be quite helpful for you.
  • You will receive what I class as the ‘drive by’ engager. They stop for one thing and you will never see them again.
  • There are ‘passives’, who you think are stone cold dead, but are actually absorbing a lot of your content without making a lot of noise. These can also be deemed consumers.
  • Followers might appear who are actually there to recycle your hard work. Recycle especially if you are ‘famed’ or have followed a route that has yielded gold. Even the Bigwigs get in on this act.

 

Social Approach

There are many types of engager. The more you do social “right”, the more you attract the “right” kind of engager. It’s not always a matter of it being a dark art either. It is more a method of approach and knowing how to process in a way that looks organic.

Real conversation is important. This exchange identifies where you can talk to someone in a natural way without tripping over on trying to push your agenda, or having an agenda pushed at you. Participation is the aim. If you can recruit people to participate with your universe you can appear to be a successful facilitator. Facilitating will encourage more of the “right” engagers.

The more you are present on social media, the better you do, but conversely the longer you are on social media, the less time you have to perform the work you need to. Hence the “time sink” angle.

Hustling and chasing in engagement does work but you can alienate followers if you micro-manage to a degree where you come across as “pushy”. I was on an email subscription of a blogger, enjoying the man’s work, but he bombarded me each day with information I didn’t really care about, eventually it just was too much and I unsubscribed. Think of any time you’ve unsubscribed from a similar situation.

Smell of Sell

I have an age old saying of “Smell of Sell”. All promotion in social media determines some form of sell. There are many followers who can be turned off by the “Smell of Sell”. This is because in a media rich world, with an advertising saturation, the traditional signals are often ignored or viewed with antipathy.

Taking my Twitter as an example, I try not to be too much of a pedal merchant because it is quite easy to lose people if you push too much of your own old content, or just too much content. You can also lose people if you push too much of other people’s content and none of your own.

That said, social approach is a balancing act. You are an entertainer to a degree, you have to know how to work a crowd.

 

Social Exodus

If you’ve been out too long from appearing “active”, your followers will leave in droves. I’ve done this myself, having left individuals who have “curled up”, and I’ve also been someone who has been inactive for too long, returning to a much reduced follower count. Those engagers who remain are normally; the stalwarts, those who don’t interact very much, those who know you are away, or those who are pedal merchants that always see you as a “mark” regardless of your status.

Social exodus can also happen through saying something stupid that incenses the masses. People may leave in their droves if you go far enough to upset your audience in an “unforgivable” fashion. A social exodus can happen quickly or over a protracted length of time but when the social signals really start to tank, many will vote with their feet.

An exodus event can happen if the bottom falls out of the market you are appealing to, or the platform you are socialising on goes out of business. If you were solely engaged as a video maker on Vid.me, you now have no platform, as an example. Whilst many contributors don’t limit to one platform, many favour a certain platform. If YouTube was to be closed down, think of the potential damage that would have on many YouTubers who depend on the income to keep a shirt on their back.

 

Momentum

Social momentum is an important concept because social signals are a token system that requires your constant vigil. If you should step off the gas pedal at any time and are not ultimately consistent in your endeavour, momentum will fade.

Number attraction is a science and it does work. It works because “cream subjects” float to the top and thus you will have a blinkered, filtered, view of what is popular. Naturally most interested souls will gravitate towards what’s popular. Certain numbers on certain social signals invite large amounts of additional attention. It is the queue mentality. Often people might join a queue, not knowing what is at the end of it, but heading there on the theory that other visitors find it good enough to queue for. Consider social signals like adding another arrow to direct you to the pot of gold. The fact that the pot of gold isn’t as advertised is neither here nor there.

Ahmad Imran – Reasontouse.com

I am hugely envious of my net friend Ahmad Imran, over at reasontouse.com. He has kept ploughing on consistently whilst I have dropped long off the boil, and I am sure that he has the improved number to show for that extended effort.

I do not have that luxury. If anything, I have to start from the start. I’ve lost all of my well-wishers, and all of my decent connections through a protracted absence. I’m only left with a solitary stalwart as far as I am aware.

At least I still have Ahmad there to act as a “smelling salt”, someone who would question me if they weren’t entirely sure they went along with it. It is terrible to have a ‘yes’ man or woman who agrees with everything you do because you can be falsely supported on what you think is right, but which actually turns out to be hokum.

 

In Conclusion

You can see why every effort you make to form your following is so valuable. You have to go through the sweat of everything above. If a corporation retcon’s your followers, you are handing them a free steer, a free bite at your hard work.

Whether these corporations have earned this “free bite” of the cherry depends on what they provide you in return. It also depends on whether you consider what you achieve on the internet to be owned by yourself.

If you looked at a very granular level at everything that occurs behind what you do, you might suddenly realise that in a large part, you are a corporate entity, an agent in an unbelievably large information bureau. The only difference between a tangible world entity is that in the real world you get paid on day one. Working on these free platforms traditionally engenders working for free from the start, and accepting that the platform owns a large part of what you do.

The important point to realise is that these corporations would be nothing without your presence so you should aim to extract the maximum from the arrangement, because ultimately, you are owed it through your own proliferation of information.

How to Install SumoMe on a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog

SumoMe provides a useful set of tools to help with a number of audience building activities within your blog. Installing the plugin on your WordPress dashboard, then activating some of the key features will stand you in a good stead.

How to Install SumoMe on a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog

Step 1: Login to your WordPress Admin.

Step 2: Head to the Plugins section on the left hand side

DashboardPlugins

Step 3: Click “Add New”

Step 4: In the Search field (top right), type in SumoMe

PluginsSearch

Step 5: Click on the SumoMe “Install Now” button

SumoMeInstall

Step 6: Activate the Plugin post installation (note, if the installation failed, check your settings)

ActivatePluginSM

Step 7: Follow SumoMe’s setup link

SumoMePluginSetup

Step 8: Register your Email Address/Password (step not shown)

Step 9: Follow the mini-tutorial to get your feet wet (this will take you through List Builder setup)

Note: Many of the more useful functions are set under the “Pro” features so be aware of this as you set up the apps you want to use.

SumoMePluginDashboard

At this stage you can play as much as you want but I will now include step to setup “Share” and “Highlighter”. Depending on how much friction you want to generate with your readers, you can also use “List Builder” and “Door Mat”.

Shares Setup

Shares allows your audience to share your article with the wider social world. Another benefit is that you can use the weight of number strategy to encourage the audience further.

Note: Showing the number of Social Shares is visible as a default. This option can be deactivated.

Step 10: Set up Share by clicking on the “Share” button

ShareSetup1

Step 11: Press the “Activate” button.

ShareSetup2

Step 11A: Choose the “free” option if presented to the far left (step not shown)

Step 12: In the settings tab to the left adjust your required social media accounts as suits. These are simply dragged between the Available and Selected Services fields by clicking and dragging.

ShareSetup3

Step 12A: If you have more than 6 services, adjust the option to change the number shown.

Step 12B: Click “Save” in the bottom right when happy.

Step 13: Go to the “Layout” tab

Step 13A: Set up Share Buttons Placement. Click on the location you want the share button to appear. You can select more than one location. Ensure you have a good share placement on your mobile screen as well.

Tip: The middle most position on the right and left of the screen will follow the article down to the bottom as the reader scrolls down the page. If you hover over each location, the dialogue box will tell you where the location is situated (if it is not obvious).

Step 13B: Press “Save” in bottom right

ShareSetup4

Step 14: Go to Services Tab

Step 14A: Enter your Twitter username

Tip: this is quite important as it will append the @blogprefect (in my case) to the share.

Step 14B: Press “Save” in bottom right

ShareSetup5

Step 15: Shares is now set up. To return to the apps screen, press the ‘X’ button in the top right

Note: You can toggle this app on or off simply by hovering over the app in the SumoMe Dashboard and clicking the toggle. Grey/Gray is off, Green is on.

AppActivationToggle

FYI: I think SumoMe has a Taco fetish.

Step 15A: Click the X button in the top right to return to the SumoMe app dashboard.

Highlighter Setup

Step 16: Click on “Highlighter”

Step 16A: Activate the App (as with Step 11)

HighlighterApp

Step 17: Enter your Twitter Username (you don’t need to add the @ sign)

HighlighterSetup

Step 18: Press “Save” in the bottom right

Step 19: Press the “X” button in the top right

Step 20: Highlighter is ready to use!

 

In Closing

There is much more you can set up from the apps list. Many of the items will require the “Pro” version to have full functionality.

I found a problem with the Contact Forms which has meant that I can’t use it at the moment. My issue is that the text entry boxes have resized to unusual dimensions and the overall box is squeezed to minimum dimensions which is less than useful. I suspect this is my theme/CSS setup rather than the box itself so I’ll have to have a tweak under the hood.

I will be evaluating the plugin over the next 3 months to determine if it is worthwhile using going forwards.

Contact me at headboy [at] blogprefect [dot] com, via Twitter or via Google+. Feel free to comment and share to your heart’s content!

 

Recommendations

Preview the changes before settling on your placement. Allow the audience to get used to the features before fine tuning!

 

Image Credits

Featured image edited by Jackson Davies, SumoMe logo copyright of SumoMe. Sumo wrestler and Taco image from Pixabay.com

All images with the SumoMe logo or SumoMe content are copyright of SumoMe and have been used for illustrative purposes only.

Community Group Spotlight Blogging on Google+

Blogging Community on Google+

I’ve been with this Blogging community for a long time and have contributed numerous posts to this community. I have viewed, added comment, shared and plussed many articles. This community has driven around 60% of my Google+ traffic over the time that I’ve been with Google+. I felt it was time to show my appreciation and cast a bit of light on this community and its characteristics.

The Community Link

Members

The group as of today (17th November 2015) has 89,185 users. This is not a bad number. That number would fit a good stadium.

As you can probably imagine, there are likely countless inactive users, it goes with the territory. I have made a rough handed segmentation based entirely on my own mad thoughts about how the community might be composed based on the length of time I’ve been with the community and the visual and rough trends that I see. You are welcome to challenge this perception in the comments.

Community Group Users – by means of Jacksonised Hyper-Generalisation

Insidious Members

Blog Post Comments

  • Passive Lurkers: Join up but never contribute, read, plus, comment or share. These are the types of Google+ user that have joined with their Blank Page or happen to be a Johnny No-Face.
  • Fly-by-Nighters & Early-Quitters: Join up for a short period with limited (but not entirely without merit) contact then go silent like the grave never to return.
  • Spam-Monkeys & Link-Droppers: Join with the clear intent of being entirely self-serving with their dodgy goods and services. Fortunately the moderators do a good job of sweeping them away from what I’ve seen.
  • Low rent negative commentators or Borderline Trolls: The epitome of jerk. People you’d happily punch in the balls or lack therein. Fortunately I’ve seen very few signs of these.

Middle of the road Members

  • Former contributor to mid-term passives: Have contributed in the past but are now more passive either because they don’t need the attention, aren’t all that bothered or just are time poor. They may shower with love on the rare to occasional but aren’t up to full operating speed.
  • Semi-regulars: These users pop up in fits and starts and then disappear again for undefined periods. They tend to run short to medium campaigns then pull up their capes and disappear to the Batcave.
  • Holiday-timers: Only seem to produce high levels of interaction during seasonal periods indicating that they are students of some form or happen to be constrained by their job’s calendar.

Active Members

  • Consistent contributors: They are weighted more to pushing their content or sharing others.
  • Consistent observers: They are weighted more to checking out what interests them, once hooked by the title, they are likely to view your content.
  • Consistent plussers: There are those who will + your shared work but may not necessarily have viewed the link you wanted them to follow.
  • Consistent sharers: Those who share other’s work consistently. Sharing is not such a common activity so this category rubber bands those people who share more occasionally than rarely.
  • Consistent commentators: Whilst these guys and gals don’t comment all the time, they sooner or later make an appearance, and you’ll be glad of their words.

Exceptional Members

  • Serial Commentators: Perhaps the least common are the serial commentators. These are dependable individuals who make an effort.
  • Serial Sharers: These individuals are also a rarity. Serial sharers normally exist with busy communities of their own and large numbers in their circle so are the types of people who like to feed their followers with content to appease their thirst for knowledge.

Other Members

  • Those that don’t specifically fit into any generalised box. The non-descript.

Distinct Community Contributors?

I don’t foresee that there are any specific long term contributors. This community is different in that way. Rather than serial contributors I tend to see a trend of those middle of the road type 1 users or “Former contributor to mid-term passives”. They ride with the community for so long then bow out leaving a clearing in the forest for somebody else. Handing-over quality is a characteristic that I like about the community because you can get pretty bored with the usual faces over time and I’ve been in other communities where some contributors get too big for their boots.

Common Themes in blog diversity

There are some blog themes that come up quite often in the group. I might classify some of these as common “magazine themes”. They are the type of content you might open the front page of a magazine for.

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation, marketing and business. A highly subscribed term of phrase for those bloggers who want to make money but also an area that is heavily crowded even at the sub-sub-niche level. This is why SEO practitioners, scientists and pan handlers spread their net wider with marketing and business leaving the audience with a variegated cornucopia of content (a mixed bag for the dim-witted).

Tech. Everybody loves tech and this seems to surface quite regularly. A rather important aspect to tech is the choices presented, often there are a number of rivals in any given sector. We are all built into this cycle of constructive discontent by being guilted into the next iteration of a product so it stands to reason that each new generation needs a review and comparison.

Fashion. But not just English speaking fashion, oh no! I am a secret fan of the fashion blogs even though they don’t tie in well with the niche I’m in. Mostly because I get to have a look at some intriguingly dressed women. What’s not to love? Google translate, do your worst! Sandals with socks need not apply.

Relationships. Relationship blogs creep up a lot. I’m not entirely convinced on how they make money (but that’s most likely me being ignorant) other than pushing people towards dating sites but they do chart from time to time. Relationships are a significant element of a person’s life unless they choose to be alone so it stands to reason that there should be some blogs about them.

Fitness & Diet. Fitness has been a massive boom area online, mostly because it is very easy to develop a service/product mix and integrate tangible real world results quickly into blog format with, and this is important, videos. Fitness produces a lot of products varying from mechanical to pill based giving the marketer a wide range of scope. This coupled with the fact that obesity and personal image has become such a popular diversion spells a recipe for those energetic sales hungry individuals to care and share (but mostly share).

Miscellaneous. There are more topics in between but they don’t feature as prominently. That’s not to say that certain topics are any less important or less noteworthy, just to say that those varied niches don’t figure as commonly into the more traditional “magazine themes”.

Variety of Blogging Platforms

Predominantly I see both WordPress (.org and .com flavours) and Blogger platforms. I haven’t seen much in the way of Weebly or Drupal but there are the odd sites there to represent them. Of course there are platforms that rest outside of this and fortunately the sinister ones like the Empowerment network are very scarce and never gain a foothold.

Money bloggers versus Personal bloggers

There is a skew towards money bloggers or at least those aspiring to make money but I’m happy to see that some personal bloggers share their content as well. It is satisfying to know that not everyone is always chasing the green (insert your national denomination’s colour here) in their online pursuits.

Amateurs versus Semi-Professionals & Professionals

I would hazard that the balance of Amateurs versus Semi-Pros & Pros would be in the range of 7:1. For every 7 Amateurs there is 1 established blogger. Amateurs doesn’t necessarily mean newcomers with new blogs, more those who have not had sufficient impact or are still Income-Zero.

Method and variety of posts

The distinct and prime flavour of the posting is to involve images, images and images. Did I mention images? Images. Yes, images. The prime posting flavour also includes a link to a website, provided either with a shortlink or the full page URL. Because of the way Google+ works, it is preferable to place the full URL rather than a shortlink because it looks a bit sexier on the preview. If the link is shortened by Bitly or WordPress, the site shows a different origin in the preview pane of the post.

Those lazier posters sling the URL in the text element of the G+ post with no explanation and it’s lazy, don’t do it!

Rarely, a question is asked with no links. I like seeing those in the community and from time to time find myself being the first to answer. I’m often not sure why people hold off on helping out, it costs nothing in the end. So you risk looking stupid but normally with a few right answers people either leave happy or a bit less confused than when they started. Of course, on the rare occasion you will get a full “derp” question in which case, feel free to steer the answer barge clear.

Now that Google+ provides a survey post type, a few of these have appeared. These are quite enjoyable as long as I agree with the questions asked (and such a thing is always subjective to the participator). It’s always interesting to see the sway of public opinion!

Is this a good community to join?

The answer to that is you have nothing to lose. If you have a blog that needs a bit of exposure, this isn’t a terrible place to head.

There is a but…

Not everything works and you are putting your content in front of fellow bloggers. There is potential you’ll get copied if your ideas are of merit so watch out. Besides those issues you’ll have to work hard to impress but the added traffic is beneficial and there is potential to connect with a helpful community. A lot of the time it depends on what you ask and how you interact.

Feedback Welcome!

Had some experience with this community? Don’t agree with my views? Feedback welcome.

You can contact me at headboy [at] blogprefect [dot] com, via the contact page or through twitter via @blogprefect.

What is social proof in blogging?

In this article I wanted to look into the ways in which you may need to invest in your process in order to get returns.

Would you think about working free of charge with your first client to build social proof?

Social Proof, what is it exactly?

What is social proof in blogging

On a number of occasions I have highlighted the necessity for Social Proof. This needs more explanation.

  • You have your product/service ready to go then what?

Without social proof very little is going to happen, there will be some apprehension by your potential customer because they don’t want to risk a bad service event when they can see other providers doing a better job with more warmth. You might not even appear on the radar because the customer has filtered by best recommended. Tried and tested equals money.

Social Proof is a marketing term. It relates to a signal that your customers love your service or product and have had a good trust relationship with you. You can think about the artifacts of Social Proof including; Testimonials, Positive Comments and Pure Numbers.

Testimonials

Testimonials are much better than just Positive Comments and Pure Numbers. You know that with the person who wrote the Testimonial, you can contact that individual directly and ask them a question on how the person providing the service handles them. When you see a successful individual using somebody else’s service it may naturally drive you towards further inquiry.

Testimonials show the best side of customer to supplier relationship. (mostly because you’d never put a negative testimonial in front of a prospective customer).

Entrepreneur magazine provides a useful summary on Testimonials here: “How to effectively use testimonials”

Positive Comments

Positive mojo in abundance is another sign that your customer will get something good out of what they are spending their time doing.

If your customer decides to take a wander along your site’s blog and sees plenty of engaged customers, they are reassured by this, as supposed to hundreds of negative comments.

Comments aren’t quite as reliable as testimonials, through censorship and through skullduggery; you can manipulate what is shown. Remember that with Testimonials, a potential new client can track that individual down, ask them a true reflection of the service you provide.

With a comment, it is a more static affair, potentially subversive by the way in which the subject has been devised. You could be talking the talk but not walking the walk. You could have employed commentators.

Comments are very valuable and should not be treated lightly.

Ryan Biddulph was able to cement a sizable empire with his blog commenting, he even wrote a successful ebook about it.

Pure Numbers

I have in the past talked about “Weight of Number”. This is a borrowed philosophy from somebody much older and wiser than myself. Sun Tzu was a famous general of the Chinese army. He was a master strategist and tactician who wrote a short but effective book called the “Art of War”. You should understand that weight of numbers will often conquer resistance.

Attack few with many,

And my Opponent

Will be weak. – Sun Tzu

By seeing number of clients served, numbers of jobs worked to a satisfactory completion, and number of positive ratings, you can be more reassured that this isn’t an overnight flash in the pan. Seeing numbers insinuates that the provider has honed their craft and has developed a suitable operating capability.

There is a dark side to Social Proof

There are those that are honest.

Through a moral code, individuals work from the void of nothing, to gain eventual kudos, this gives them a platform to drive further sales. It is a hard journey that requires a dogged determined streak.

There are those that are dishonest.

These are the individuals who will bypass a moral code and shortcut the process. They will seek methods of driving interest through various “Boosting” activities which will give them an elevated position relative to their time served.

In order to survive in competition, you might have to occasionally embrace the dark side and employ methods of getting ahead because starting blank can be painful.

What methods can be employed to “get ahead”?

I’m going to mention a number of service sites that bloggers tend to use as well as some other examples of e-commerce. You might be able to relate to some of these strategies because you might have tried them.

Amazon: Paying someone to buy your product and write a review.

You don’t want to be a Johnny no star. An obvious tactic is buying a 5 star review with a suitably lengthy and descriptive comment, biased to be positive from the off, jump starting the sales process. One review may not be enough, you may need to obtain a handful of these reviews to get the ball rolling.

This can apply to all sorts of products but is especially effective on unique, untried and untested products that don’t naturally sell.

You can apply this strategy to more than just Amazon. Any outlet that provides reviews can be influenced in this manner. All you need is the capable reviewer and the money to pay the fee. Some reviews can be done in exchange for things other than money (like other reviews or something of equal value).

There is danger with this strategy though. I found two particular articles that highlight this problem.

Huffington Post “Five Stars for Five Dollars”.

Motion “Bad Idea: Paying for Amazon Reviews”.

Shilling: Attracting that first activity.

A “Shillaber” or the term known as “Shill” is to have someone in the crowd ready to take up the mantle of going first. The origin of a shill was an employee in the times of the circus to get people to laugh or in a magician’s show being a willing participant. Fear is a negative driver and many people are fearful of going first, often they have to be coerced to take action.

Consider a group of tourists in Australia who are about to undertake a bungee jump for the first time. Do you think they are more likely to jump after the instructor takes the first drop successfully to demonstrate the harness is safe and the height is right? Of course they are. If that didn’t happen, the instructor might call for anyone who has been bungee jumping before to step up to the plate.

The act of watching that person go first spurs others to do the same. In some ways we act to do things as a community. Sheep, ducks and cows flock together. There always has to be the first water buffalo to cross the crocodile infested river in Africa. Once the first has successfully navigated that water, the rest follow, with safety in numbers.

You may go as far as asking your mother, father, partner or friend to be that first sale with a full refund. There is nothing wrong with that. It’s that first turn on the turnstile.

The wrong comes in products and services that are sub-standard. Where you have the gall to put high praise on something that is clearly deficient is often a date with trading standards or some furious backlash.

Facebook: Paying for activity.

There are numerous vendors who will provide followers, likes and impressions for cash money. Depending on the quality of the vendor, they have ready established networks to provide warmth, uplifts in number and some form of target to your goods or service.

As mentioned, quality will vary! Depending on what you are trying to achieve, often the numbers alone, in this high-speed world, will be enough to sway your prospective client. Proof of engagement can often be more difficult if the quality is low so expect scrutiny.

This activity can be applied to all social media outlets, all you need to do is find the right vendor for the right flavour of social media you want to uplift.

Would I recommend this activity?

I would initially say NO.

You can lose track of your true engagement very quickly if you hyper inflate your numbers through this method. You can effectively cheapen your hard-won audience and make a mess for yourself.

Taking this as a personal example:

I have a small number of Twitter followers but I know for the most part of this group, they will respond to me if I contact them.

On the other hand I have approximately 1,800 Google+ followers and I know that I have a very small group of individuals (in the 1% range and thus disproportionate to twitter) who will respond if I ask them to.

If you were to ask me which group I prefer, I would say Twitter even though I have been working longer with Google+.

If you put in genuine work to cultivate your audience, it has a better pay out in the long run. Don’t shortcut your audience.

But I said initially….

Social media can be used in different ways and depending on how you are trying to sell your product or service, a significant short-term boost could be necessary. There is nothing like time to drive a sense of urgency. If you have a time limit, paying your way higher might be a necessity.

Separating adverts from the mix

Advertising is not cheating, and is not what I consider; the dark side. Advertising is a genuine activity where you pay to get more exposure to potential. I say potential because even though your advert can be served up on a platter to the right person, this person still requires taking the required action, normally the responses are minimal. It is just those techniques where you move into deception territory where you have to be careful.

You can drag a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

The crux of this post:

I will be launching a number of services on my new blog. I cannot claim that any of these services will be unique in the market but I can claim that I am uniquely performing these services and as I become more competent these services will evolve to become more unique.

In order for me to get traction, I need a willing first participant to be my prototype client for one key service, to help me develop the potential. I have a good idea of the types of clients I would like to attract and also have a good idea on how to expand the operation.

This key service is important because ultimately it could be the biggest driver of profit. The service needs to reach a return amount that could aid to free me from my 9 – 5:30 current day job.

The selection of this candidate is an easy one for me. I know and have commented on this person’s blog for months and know that I can have a good working relationship with this individual but it is not a done deal.

There is a sacrifice to be made however.

I will be working for this client for FREE.

What do I stand to get out of this arrangement when I am likely to be working hard for this person?

There are a number of benefits:

  • A Testimonial will be provided straight off the bat. This person knows me, we have a good relationship, we share some affinity. I can rely on this person to speak well of me.
  • I am able to feature this person’s work, and the work I do to improve it, extensively and exclusively.
  • I can call on this person to improve my prototype service, give me essential feedback on what I need to improve to make the process smoother and more professional, and provide ideas for developing the premium package.
  • This person may be able to assist me in isolating future clients who meet the same criteria from their already thriving network.
  • I can work a more flexible arrangement to suit my time commitments.

Strategy:

In terms of strategy, I will be driving a lot of traffic around the service page and my writing as part of the blog is going to be more focused around the subject of “writing”.

If you have followed Blog Prefect’s track for any length of time you’ll know that it follows a more general track along the aspects of blogging and how to do it like a boss, along with the occasional useful how tos, the shared traffic report and some rare diversions.

In conclusion:

  • The important note to draw upon; is that starting out blank, without social proof is a difficult step to jump, especially if it is hard to persuade someone to go first.
  • There are many creative ways to kickstart the process of getting that first customer by using others to help. The payoffs are worthwhile. Social proof is not an element that should be ignored in the launch process.
  • Not every arrangement has to involve money to be beneficial.

I look forward to having a new site in January and hope to see you there! I’m keeping the domain name under wraps at the moment.