July 05, 2008

My Social Media Failures

You've probably observed this in your field of expertise.
  • Individual executes a marketing strategy.
  • Marketing strategy succeeds.
  • Individual is lauded as a visionary.
What if the strategy succeeded because of luck, or fate, or timing? Is the person still a genius?

Since late 2004, I've started three different blogs, and one podcast series --- four social media experiments in total.

Only The MineThatData Blog gained traction. The other two blogs averaged between six and twelve visitors a day. The podcast series averaged twenty-five downloads per episode.

Am I a visionary, or is the law of large numbers working in my favor?

In one of my blogs, I employed every strategy I employed for this blog. I ended up with two folks linking to the blog after writing three hundred blog posts over two years. The target audience for that blog was much larger, and more rabid than this blog. And yet, the effort was a gigantic failure.

Social Media pundits are going to tell you what you should do. They're going to refer back to their successes, telling you that it worked for them, so it will work for you. There are thousands of bloggers who go down this path every day, filled with authority. They tried one blog, and it worked, so they are an expert.

The reality is that every activity has a probability of success. If you are willing to try, to fail, you'll come across the occasional success.

In my case, I have a 25% success rate, good enough to make a living, lousy enough to show that I'm human and that "this stuff doesn't always work." Be wary of those folks who tell you they have the formula for success --- they may not have tried enough strategies to fail.