Survival of the Fittest in the World of Social Media

Beautiful Mama Cass found a nice relaxing place to rest on the porch after a big slurply drink from the water bowl! She says, "Whew, it IS a dog-eat-dog world!" :-)

I only have a few moments to write a quick post… so here goes.

It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. Yeah, we all know it. But damn, ever since I moved back to the lower 48 from Alaska this one concept keeps bumping me on the backside. Living in Alaska is survival of the fittest and surviving the elements. Remember, there’s a whole square mile for every person who lives there and I lived in the most populous town of around 300K people—there’s not a lot of drama. If you’ve followed my posts you know that I reference Alaska as a place where everyone gets along and supports each other. There’s a sense of family and belonging you don’t get anywhere else—it’s just special. Living outside of Alaska is a whole other can of worms—its dog-eat-dog and every man for himself, especially in a corporate world.  Almost any job you land feels like the newest episode of Survivor where you better make sure there’s no chatter circulating about you—because heaven forbid, whether that chatter is warranted or not, you don’t want to look like you’re not a team player! I could go on and on with this one…but I’ll save that for another blog—this blog is about social media!  The common factor here is everything seems to be a popularity contest.

Yep, survival of the fittest. It feels like everything we do in life is a popularity contest, no especially our life on the web.  Let’s just look at how almost all social media and web marketing works. First off, my husband, Brian and I officially started our portrait and wedding photography business, Dreamcicle Studios, back in July of ’11. With the dust settling after family changes at the end of last year, I’ve had a little more time recently to work on moving our little business forward. There’s a lot to running your own business and it’s fun..we’re enjoying it very much. However, if you have a web page—you can’t get anywhere unless Google thinks you’re good enough. They pride themselves on providing relevant content to their users. Owning a business, putting up a web page and clicking on your neon “open sign” sure doesn’t mean anyone out there is going to see it flashing if you’re not popular enough to be seen. Gone are the phonebooks of old…who wants to flip through and look at a bunch of black and white (and some color) ads—holy hell, it’s so time consuming to sift through all the listings. Just Google it.  It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s right there before you in a matter of seconds! Use those old phone books for monitor stands or stack them at the dinner table for little Brooke to sit on, or even clean your windows with glass cleaner and those newspaper-esque pages—they’ll be put to better use that way! In fact, mine go to the recycler as soon as they hit my front porch and have for years. Well, okay, not entirely true. That is, after I’ve stewed on the fact that I don’t even want the damn thing in the first place and I have no way of opting out of getting one delivered.  Now I have to deal with someone else’s junk when I have no choice in the matter because I live in a city where I get multiple books from multiple companies and frankly that really irritates me. So, it sits there till I deal with it! It’s usually only a few days, but none-the-less, cooome on!

Trust me; I’m not bashing Google here as I think they’re serious geniuses, maybe even evil geniuses, but they’re the big kids on the block so we gotta play or stay away. The cream rises to the top and they provide that easy and instantaneous deliverance of relevant content at your fingertips in a jiffy! And that’s exactly how they want it…but they filter what you get based on popularity. There’s a whole amazing science behind SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and being listed in a search. Unless of course the person searching for you types your business name directly—then voila! You’re right there. If not and they’re searching for a generic term—like Phoenix Coffee Shops—if you’re not popular and/or don’t have relevant content (because you can’t stand alone on your name!)…. then bam, you’re nowhere to be found. I’m new to SEO and oh my Lord, it’s like learning a new language. I was pondering this very subject while sitting on the end of my bed this morning and reminiscing on Meg Ryan’s role in French Kiss when she was searching all over France for her fiancé. Sad as she was she lifts her fisted arm and shouts with honor “IIIIIII’ll triumph!”. And…yes, yes I will, even with SEO.

So…then the popularity contest continues with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Word Press, Blogger, and there’s soooo many more. It takes a lot of time, effort and focus on what to do when—thus surviving it all. Just keeping up with the basics of blogging and using Facebook can be overwhelming for newbies. It’s no joke that to win at this popularity contest you could spend an entire 8 hours per day, 5 days a week for the next year doing it. Just working social media for all it’s worth can be a full time job—and frankly for big corporations, they have positions just to handle SM…because there are so many ways to beat this popularity contest and so much value for your company if you get there! For those of us who are only one person—forget it. It’s nearly impossible. That’s not to say it’s not valuable—because it is. It’s awesome and honestly I’d hate life without it.

The key is providing valuable and relevant content in whatever medium you’re in… and plan to create a strategy for it, so you can be effective in your efforts. Not only that, but do your best to pay attention to rules of engagement or business etiquette for these mediums as you start down the social media path.  For example—today I read an awesome blog post from The Marketing Blog (which I love!). It was “The Incomplete Guide to Pinterest Marketing for Small Business”. Incomplete because Pinterest is so new and businesses are just now learning how to engage on Pinterest—but it was a great start to what I’m sure will become much more detailed. Basically it boils down to “walk softly but carry a big stick”. Dive in and get on it as you don’t want to miss the boat—but I suggest you learn the rules of engagement first. Otherwise you could get smacked in public if you will, by a potential customer or even someone who perceives themselves a competitor whether local or not. It’s a great read…and if you’re a business that hasn’t started on Pinterest—there are some good points in the blog to follow—that many of us missed out on because we started our boards as a personal branded board like most everyone else. Jay gives tips on how specifically to use Pinterest from a business stand point. It’s excellent.

So…all in all I do love social media and I use it to grow our little business as much as I can. It’s where our audience is…but still, I can’t help but imagine how far we could go if I were able to hire someone to handle just this aspect for us! It’s THAT important. For now, I’ll keep learning tricks and will share them as they come to me…after all, there’s learning to be had in order to play in the popularity game of social media. To get that precious coveted place mark—it requires survival of the fittest and to do it in a dog-eat-dog world!

Okay friends, gotta run. My adoring social media fans await my next post as like cream… I dare dream of rising to the top! :-)

Take good care,

Mrs. Briteside

Oh.. and please follow me on all the places that I am and help a sister out!


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and of course follow me here at my word press blog! :-) *winks*

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