Of all the possible metaphors for maintaining a social media presence, whether as a small business owner or in any other endeavor, perhaps the best is that of a gardener. Of course, we’ve done our share of gardening around here at BizSugar and thought we’d share a few simple tips on how to cultivate your social media site into a beautiful garden of interaction and engagement, so grab your watering can and let’s get started…
Prepare the soil. When planting a garden, it’s important first to turn the soil, preparing the ground for the garden to come. Preparing the ground in social media is important as well. Take time to prepare for the personal or business brand you hope to create. Take a look at your profile. Does it reflect the image, skills, products, services and value consistent with who you are and what you do? Does it tell others what they need to know to want to connect with you?
Plant the seeds. Good strong content makes up the best seeds for any social media garden, and like any garden they should come in all varieties, not just one or two types of flower or an overwhelming color or hue that fails to create a beautiful balance. Plan your content carefully. Are you adding the contributions of others as well and listening to their voices? Are you making sure your social media content will create a beautiful bouquet or are you simply planting the same flower monotonously over and over row after row?
Nurture with care. When gardening, be sure your new plants get plenty of water and sun to help them grow. In your social media strategy, be sure to comment on the content of others and to respond to their comments. Create a give and take that nurtures your social media garden and helps it blossom. Simply planting the seeds and walking away will not produce the best results.
Remove the weeds. Weeds are a reality in both gardening and in social media. In your social network, on a blog or other social site, they may take the form of spam, trolling, unproductive comments and anti-social behavior that can at their best limit the growth of your social media network and at worst strangle the life from it with comments, content and interactions that work counter to the community you are attempting to create and discourage others from wanting to interact. As in the case of a physical garden, these social media “weeds” must be addressed quickly and plucked out before they do great harm to your brand and your network.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these tips for growing your social media network from a gardener’s perspective and hope they will help you create a social network of unrivaled beauty, one you can enjoy and draw benefit from in the months ahead.
Have we missed anything? Do you have some tips on growing a beautiful social media garden you would like to share? Please provide some seeds, water or other nurturing below and help us grow a beautiful social media garden with the addition of your comments.
7 thoughts on “A Gardener’s Guide To Social Media”
I think you hit on a fantastic metaphor. So many businesses look for overnight results. It takes a while to understand that social media is a long term relationship…not a one night stand. I think most come around to the realization that the benefit of tending that garden is a wonderful harvest you get to enjoy with people you KNOW, not just people who bought from you. Very good article…thanks.
I love this analogy! I’ve used with my clients, though not so eloquently (that’s fertilizer). Cooking good BBQ is another analogy I use, as in “low and slow.”
Two bits I would add or emphasize.
A good gardener must be patient. Also, gardeners enjoy the process, not just the fruit (or vegetables or flowers).
Thanks Bill and Dan for your awesome comments and for contributing to our garden. I really think the metaphor can be expanded beyond social media too and include a way of looking at how you run your entire business. Preparing the soil, planting seeds, nurturing your garden and removing weeds are all critical parts of growing a successful small business not just a successful social media network. What a great way to tie small biz to social media once and for all for those who still can’t see the connection.
Great story! I will use this post in my courses on social media as an illustration. As a chile-head, growing chile peppers, I can relate to the gardening metaphor very much.
I say it is applicable on networking to. You have to be more of a farmer than a hunter. This idea is from Dr. Ivan Misner, founder of BNI (Business Network International).
Thanks, Martin. Glad you enjoyed it. Agree with your assessment about networking too. Farming is the better analogy because networking requires careful cultivation, though I suppose a good case could be made that a certain kind of marketing (locating your ideal client or customer) is more analogous to hunting. Will need to think about it for a future post. 🙂
Being new to social media, I found these articles extremely informative and helpful…and so true! Now I realize that my online biz will need much more tender love n’ care (as do plants), not only for my own biz, but helping others too. All of this is very exciting! Thank you for providing such articles.