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I despise the word “influencer,” so when I read Guy Kawasaki’s post to forget about A-list influencers, I did an internal happy dance.
Confession: I don’t know any A-list influencers.
Make of that what you will.
Here’s the thing. When I returned from overseas in late 2008, I didn’t know anyone outside my immediate family here in San Mateo. My short-lived financial planning job, however, forced me to network like a madwoman and this went against the grain. It seemed fake, phony, needy. But I pretended I wanted to be at those networking events and the results were… not good. My smile was forced, and I was fake, phony and needy. But the more I pretended to enjoy myself, the more I actually started enjoying myself. Now I’m part of a strong local network of small business owners, who know and like each other. We provide leads and referrals, do cross-promotions, and give each other professional advice. They’re not A-listers (and neither am I), but we’ve got each other’s backs.
Lately I’ve been thinking about how that real world experience has mirrored my social media experience. Initial awkwardness, standing on the sidelines and listening, making the occasional comment (and faux pas), but now… I’m getting to know people. They’re not A-listers either but we’re learning from each other and helping each other out. I’m developing some interesting cross-promotions for The Metaphysical Detective with a local artist, Tarot publisher, and Tarot author. The people I’ve “met” on Empire Avenue and in LinkedIn groups have provided invaluable advice for the project.
Could a positive mention from an A-list blogger help me? Doubtless. But I’m not going to beat my head against the wall trying to get it. I’d rather direct my energy toward people in my niche who are just as eager to work with me as I with them.
So hang in there, don’t despair. Focus on your market first – maybe the A-listers will come, but even if they don’t, you can still make gains through social media networking.