Lisa Hickey tells some social media stories.
On our weekly Good Men Project social media / editorial calls, I often start out with what people are saying about us on Twitter – the good, the bad, and the confused. As you can see below, some people love us, and some people take the time to try to figure us out as they tweet.
As I said to those on the call, “weirdly back-patty” is really funny – here I am reading tweets about how great The Good Men Project is to a group of people I call “evangelists.” I like when people call it like they see it.
And certainly one of the more fun things about social media is that – sure – you can get back-pats from other people in your network. But can it ever be a source of income for someone?
You can probably see how you can get small amounts of money from tons of people – say, if you have written a book, and you build a big enough network, and you can sell hundreds of books through that network, you might be able to make a small amount of money through a lot of effort, right?
But is it possible to make, say, hundreds of thousands of dollars through social media? Well there’s the story of Gary Vaynerchuck, who worked in a family liquor store. He sold bottles of wine. Not the sexiest job in the world. But Gary V. loved wine, and he loved to talk about wine more than anything else. So he started to talk about wine and he started to tweet about wine and he started to create YouTube videos about wine. Lots of them.
And the next thing you know, according to a story I heard, Gary is on the shows like Conan O’Brien, and he’s explaining to Conan how you learn about the adjectives to describe wine. And he convinces Conan that in order to build his palette about and learn how to describe different wines — mineral-based ones, for example, Conan would have to lick some rocks.
And so he got Conan to eat grass and lick rocks. And all the while, Gary V. is simply getting out there in social media about something he’s excited about, as he’s expanding the wine store, building a library of videos about wine, and writing a couple of books — like Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion — in the process.
So that’s one way, and even though in retrospect it sounds like a pretty cliché rags to riches story, the point about social media is that it can connect those dots – the dots between rags and the dots between riches – much quicker than before.
Gary V. still had to work really hard and take tons of actions before he got to the riches part of that story. So now the question is – can you actually make many thousands of dollars through ONE single specific action with social media? Or at least one action that gets the ball rolling, without having to devote your entire life to social media?
And the answer is – yes.
But before I show you how that can happen in social media, I’d like to give an example from where it happened outside of social media.
Malcolm Gladwell, in his book What the Dog Saw, writes about a kid he met named Nolan Myers. Nolan had been an intern at Microsoft. And Microsoft had a party for ex-interns, and Nolan attended the party.
And the Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft was talking. And Nolan raised his hand at the end of his remarks. As Nolan describes it in Gladwell’s book, “The President of Microsoft was talking a lot about aligning the company in certain directions. And I asked him about how that influences his ability to make bets on other directions. Is Microsoft still going to make small bets?”
That’s it. This young, 20-something kid asked the CEO of Microsoft a question about strategic decision-making.
And the next thing you know, a recruiter comes up to this Nolan and says, “Steve Ballmer wants your email.”
And Nolan got a job offer from Microsoft. Which he didn’t end up taking – but he used that offer to negotiate another offer with a start-up. One question. One action. Leading to a job offer that could easily have led to many thousands of dollars, especially over the course of a lifetime.
So what’s the social media equivalent of what Nolan did?
Blog commenting is what I have called the “key to the universe” for exactly that reason. If you want to get in front of influential people – one of the BEST ways to do it is by commenting on their blogs.
The trick is to add your own unique POV to what was said in the blog post in a way that moves the conversation forward and is positive and empowering to those in the blogger’s community.
I know more than one person who has been offered jobs, started companies, been asked to do a public speaking engagement – all because of commenting on blogs of people they saw as influential. Heck, we’ve hired more than one blog commenter here at The Good Men Project.
Social media is important because information can reach you in a way it never did before. And social media is important because you can reach hundreds of thousands of people in a way you never did before. Build a network of interconnected 10,000 people and learn how to take the one specific actions that can bring huge results.