One thing I can say about myself is I don’t stand still much. It seems I’m always to understand more of what and why I think, feel and believe the way I do.

socialnetworking1.gifIn my personal life, I don’t often rest on good enough. Instead, I strive to be a better man, a better husband, a better parent, a better son, a better friend, and a better neighbor. And in my spirituality, I constantly find myself working through issues that limit me from the deepest understandings of my soul and its relationship to my Creator.

In business, it’s much the same way. While I know quite a bit about business websites development, marketing strategy and copywriting, I still strive to learn more – always pushing my envelope.

It was just about a year ago that I decide to find out what blogging is all about. So I found out how to use RSS, got a reader and started watching blogs – learning as much as I could from the bloggers I enjoyed.

Now, I didn’t ‘need’ to blog. My business was doing great and I had more still to share with my clients. Yet, I wanted to know what blogging was all about. And soon, I discovered that blogging was, perhaps, the most powerful (or at least accessible) method for building interest in your business then anything yet created. And…you could do it on the cheap.

So I pushed. And now, I have a pretty successful blog myself, my business is thriving, and doors are opening all around me for expansion. To top it off, I’ve also made some amazing friendships and partnerships with bloggers that four or five months ago I didn’t know. Incredible, really.

So when my dear friend Adam Kayce tagged me a little while back asking me about my learning edge, it gave me a chance to think a bit about where I’ve been and where I’m heading.

In the meantime, I checked out the other folks that have been tagged on this meme like, Edward Mills, Ben Yoskovitz, Jean Browman, Daily Triathlete, Eve, Evelyn Rodriguez, Sue Melone, and the dear Colleen Wainwright from Communicatrix. They each wrote some great posts on where they’re stretching.

For me, I’ve read a fair amount. Though less than I used to with two kids under 4 years old. I read lots of blogs daily and manage a number of great phone conversations each week; constantly exploring how to better build my business (and my client’s) through blogging and social media.

I’ve learned a ton about using social media in the past year since watching blogs – and even more in the past six months since I’ve been blogging. And so now it’s time to push the envelope even wider.

Now I want to bring together the parts of social mediasocial bookmarking (e.g. del.icio.us, ma.ganolia), social networking (e.g. Linkedin, MyBlogLog, Facebook), social recommendation (e.g. Digg, StumbleUpon, Netscape) and social content (YouTube, Flickr) – together into a program that will help service-based business owners grow their businesses sustainably and with authenticity.

I’m using social networks more and more – learning everything I can about how they work and how they can aid business growth. I’ve read 15 books on blogging. Most were pretty useless – though I got something out of Clear Blogging, Publish & Prosper, and What No One Ever Tells you About Blogging and Podcasting and Naked Conversations. And, as I’ve written about, I absolutely loved Lorelle’s Blogging Tips.

I’ve also read a few books on on social media and social marketing such as Andy Sernovitz’s Word of Mouth Marketing, Mark Hughes’ Buzz Marketing, and, of course, Seth Godin’s books and the Cluetrain Manifesto. And I’ve got Ben McConnell’s books, Citizen Marketers & Creating Customer Evangelists, along with Paul Gillin’s The New Influencers: A Marketer’s Guide to the New Social Media coming from Amazon.

As for blogs I regularly read ProBlogger, Copyblogger, David Armano, Lee Odden, Chris Garrett, Andy Beard and the guys at Pronet Advertising – along with a search responses I find daily in my reader.

In thinking about using social media – social bookmarketing, social networking, etc – who do you read and how has it helped you utilize these services to grow your business?

And to David, Char, Gayla, Stuart, Dave, Dylan, Randa and Chris I’d like to know what you’re current learning edge is. Find out more about this meme at Adam’s site.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Hi Dawud,

    Great to read about the books you’ve found useful.

    We’re quite similar in the time we’ve spent utilising blogs to our advantage, although you’re a few steps ahead with your RSS experience (just before Christmas of last year was when I really picked it up).

    The social aspects are fascinating, and my learning edge at present is all around improving relationships with current readers (rather than focusing on building a bigger readership). I know there are some very intelligent people who visit my blog now and again and I’d love to see how we can work together.

    Onwards and upwards my friend.

  2. Liz,

    You are like a light that shines the way for those lost in the darkness. I’m just moved to call you a friend.

    David,

    A man after my own heart. Taking care of your current readers, I feel, is often overlooked by people. So I’m with you. It’s a fine balance between meeting their needs and wanting to expand your influence. The question is, where do people like us, who do a service for a living, find enough time?

  3. Hi Dawud,
    Here it is a few hours late. I’ve had some sleep and I’m feeling less intimidated by all of the wonderful ways that you manage to interact with people. I’m more of an introvert than I sometimes remember. 🙂

    How do I use social media to grow my business? That’s such an interesting and overwhelming question to me — I can hardly contain it. Inside it is the question What is social media? I read your definition and know that’s what you’re asking about. Do I defer to that? I wish I could. That wouldn’t give a complete picture, and my DNA won’t let me do that. I’m sorry. Really. 🙁

    I think about it as we did in publishing, where we had hard products to sell . . . as “product mix” or in this case “media mix.” My mix includes traditional and new media.

    I know you can’t miss that like you I’m about conversation and relationships, and that my business grows primarily through “word of mouth.” So here’s how the mix works to support a “word of mouth” goal. So, I meet people in high touch, one-to-one ways first — email, IM, inboxes at Social Networks (Facebook etc.); telephone, Skype; then lower touch, mostly listening in to hear what folks are doing — Twitter, Pownce. THEN the mix switches to equal parts of bookmarking; recommendations; and commenting on other blogs.

    All of the above takes a backseat to content on my blog.

    Oh dear, I just wrote a blog post in your comment box. . . . It was the only way I knew how to answer the question. 😉 Thank you for asking.

  4. Hi Dawud…
    where’s my learning edge? I chuckle…
    Sometimes I feel it crumbling away, when I think I know what my next challenge is, I seem to go backwards!

    How do I use media? I am not sure how to answer that…do you mean how do I use blogging and the internet? Or all media? I don’t find myself being as juiced up by blogging as you have found…I feel distanced and spend a lot of time searching for posts that I want to respond to, and hardly any of those have anything to do with what I do. I can dole out parenting advice, but that’s not what I do in my business…

    I guess my learning edge is simply learning HOW to find where I fit with blogging and internet marketing.

    I have had more success with forums – so I do go on forums with my signature advertisment. b

    But where I feel energized is in person with people. How do I convert that energy I feel being live with a group of service providers for families, or live with a group or individual parents to a computer screen on a topic I am not fluent in?

    Is everyone made for blogging? Is every business set up to reap the blogger benefits?

    I am thrilled I have a website that is available for those interested to read and get to know me, but I find it draining and dry to comb blogs hoping it will boost traffic. Even when it works.

    So that’s my edge. I don’t like blogging, I love what I do and adore my clients and care about those interested in the depth of what I can share. I adore babies and parents and parenting and healing. I love talking to people. I feel filled up when I can hear a voice, when someone can hear me, when I can connect through the eyes…

    So I feel caught, not sure what to do next, and life circumstances prevent full focus now and for the next few months.

    Thanks for the tag, Dawud. And I miss your voice!

  5. Liz,

    Of course everyone’s welcome to write a blog post in my comment boxes (it happens more than you might think). And of all people, you are certainly most welcome to use as much space as you need to share your wisdom. Thanks for doing so on this post.

    I’m with you. I tend to be more high-touch first. And everything does pale to my blog content. The thing I’m trying to work out, though, is how to make myself more available to a wider audience in an organic way. Not through pushing or manipulation. But how to position myself so when people need my services, they know and remember I can help them.

    And for me, social media is not limited to using the web. I think of social media as all the ways that we interact with each other – hence, social. The media part comes in the form of the word medium – a means of doing something.

    So when I define social media for myself I see it as a method to build relationships.

    Now look, I’m the one who’s writing the blog post in my own comments.

  6. Where we find the time is a good question, Dawud.

    I often feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day, and that sleeping or meals can be an interruption. I get quite a lot done in my working day, but when it’s time for bed I’m always thinking what else there is to do.

    I’m sure self-employment has a large part to play in my night time thinking, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  7. Hi Dawud: I am definitely looking forward to some posts on the findings from your learning edge. What an awesome intention: bringing together social bookmarking, networking and recommendation into one program!

    David: I love that in one casual comment “improving relationships with current readers…” you put into words what has been missing from much (most) of the blogging “advice” that goes around.

  8. Nice learning edge, bro — and a very useful one. I’ve poked through Lorelle’s book, and Naked Conversations just came in from the library, so that’s high on my list.

    Mostly, though, I’m just trying to use sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, etc. … play around a bit, and see what I can figure out. It’s slow-going, though, so maybe some reading would make sense.

  9. I really like the topic of this one and I will be tackling it at my site at some point this week. I am always seeking a learning edge of some sort – I have a need to learn on a regular basis.

  10. Dylan,

    I miss your voice too.

    I know you’ve struggled using the web to reach prospects. Yet, it really can work for you. And you and I can get back into how very soon.

    Ed,

    There’s more coming. You’ll see me writing more about social ‘marketing.’

    Adam,

    Thanks. You’ll love Naked Conversations. Just try to reframe some of the stories for you as a solopreneur.

    Char,

    Wasn’t this a really good meme Adam came up with.

    Single Grain,

    That’s awesome. Thanks for your feedback.

  11. Thank you again for the recommendation and this is a wonderful article, packed with tons of the best of the best links and resources. Well done! I love how your blogging style has really developed and grown and how you are using the power of the link to make many of those connections, and providing your readers with more than just the written word. Brilliant, my friend. Brilliant!

    But for me, please kill the useless math question. 2 out of 3 times I enter the right number and it tells me I’m wrong. I have even used a calculator!

  12. I too have been at this IM thing for one year plus, and am putting in significant hours with sporadic paydays. And I think social media plays it’s part in driving traffic significantly. But, I am pursuing my dream and am still confident that dream will be a reality very soon. Many people quit right before they reach the top of the mountain and never realize they were inches from getting over the top and letting that momentum carry them down that hill to success and happiness. It is more about sticking to it than anything. I have found a common thread of successful people to emulate in a specific type of business model that I believe to be one of the most effective and lasting ways to become successful as your own boss. Best of luck to all who read this. Bill

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  1. […] How Do You Use Social Media To Grow Your Business?My business was doing great and I had more still to share with my clients. Yet, I wanted to know what blogging was all about. And soon, I discovered that blogging was, perhaps, the most powerful (or at least accessible) method for … […]

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  3. […] Mills of Evolving Times wrote What Is Your Learning Edge? Dawud Miracle of dmiracle.com wrote How Do You Use Social Media To Grow Your Business? David Thomas of Glittering Muse wrote What’s Your Learning Edge? William Harryman of Integral […]

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