Lately I’ve been pondering the part that social media plays in my blogging business.
This post is an attempt to make some sense of it. I’d value your thoughts in comments to help me take these half thought through ideas to something more concrete.
What’s my strategy? Why invest so much time into sites that I don’t actually own?
To be honest there are days when i wonder if I have a strategy at all. There’s so much I don’t know about social media and how it fits into what I do – some days it just feels messy. However in the midst of it all there are moments of clarity.
Home Bases and Outposts
Today I was watching a video of a presentation by Chris Brogan and a short segment of it resonated strongly and put words to the way I use social media. He talked about:
- Home Bases
He’s used these concepts numerous times on his blog before (here and here for example) but today it got my attention a little more than previously – particularly the idea of the ‘Home Base’ and that of the ‘Outpost’.
A home base is a place online that you own, that is your online ‘home’. For me I have two home bases – “That Work” – SLG and Digital Photography School. For me my home bases are blogs but for others they will be other types of websites.
Outposts are places that you have an online presence out in other parts of the web that you might not ‘own’. I’d previously being using the word ‘satellites’ to describe this but I think ‘outposts’ works better.
Outposts will mean different things to different people and businesses. Here’s how it looks for me as I think about my home base of “That Work” – SLG.
As you’ll see, most of my ‘outposts’ are social media sites – however for others an outpost could also include forums, other community sites and even the comments sections of other blogs.
Each of the outposts that you see above are places that I have accounts and am attempting to grow my online presence (some better than others). These ‘outposts’ are sites where I:
- add content
- build relationships
- test ideas
- grow a profile
- make connections
- try to be useful
Out of this combination of activities many things come. Relationships, ideas, traffic, resources, partnerships, community and much more emerge from the outposts – much of it making my home base stronger.
Two Way Streams and Outposts Taking on a Life of Their Own
The outposts do drive some traffic back to the home base, but many of the benefits are less tangible and have more to do with building the brand and influences of my blogs.
Also worth noting is that the outposts don’t just feed the homebase (it isn’t just a one way thing)- but the homebase feeds the outposts and sometimes the outpost seems to take on a life of its own and becomes the real place of action where without really trying a community emerges.
For example this week I discovered that a small (but growing) group of “That Work” – SLG readers had been interacting with my content and one another on my Facebook Profile – despite the fact that I’d not spent more than 20 minutes on Facebook in the previous three months. Just the fact that I link to Facebook and pull in my Twitter activity means that the ‘community’ there has sprung up (now that I’m aware of what’s going on I can participate and feed the community.
This Post is Half Finished
I laugh when people occasionally refer to me as a social media expert.
You see while I’ve managed to grow a reasonable social media presence over the last few years there is still much to learn. As a result I’d love to here your thoughts on what I’ve written and how you see and use social media in your blogging and business. Your comments will take this post a step closer to completion – looking forward to how it ends!