The Stupidly Obvious Secret Ingredient to Social Media Success

Your success in social media is determined by this highly scientific equation:

Effort + How Funny You Are + (Luck/100000) = Social Media Success

You can’t control luck. You definitely can’t control how funny you are. So what do you need improve to find success with social media?


Photo cred: Ferdinando del Drago

The more effort you put into blog posts, into helping customers, into building relationships with bloggers, into participating in conversations etc…the more you’ll start to see returns.

No one said it was going to be easy.  Setting up a twitter account, a facebook page and a blog doesn’t take much effort.  Keeping these things updated and getting returns will take a great deal of effort.

Get your hands dirty, go above and beyond for your community, struggle for the of benefit others, and rack your brain for new ways to help people.

And yes, as hard as you work, you’ll still have to be patient.  It will take time and you will make some mistakes… but if you’re willing to contribute a great deal of effort into social media, then you will see returns over time. I guarantee you will.

The tools, the tricks, the tips…that’s all easy to pick up with a little practice.

Effort won’t always work in other areas of business.  Certainly, you can put a great deal of effort into marketing, and still see no results.  Same with advertising and traditional PR.

The good part?  Once you start to see returns, it gets much easier.  It starts to flow.

Take a look at some of the most “successful” people and companies in social media.  Look at Chris Brogan, Amber Naslund, Gary V, Scott Stratten, Scott Monty and the list goes on.  They’re bringing success to themselves and their brands because they’re hustling their asses off day in and day out.

So, stop acting confused when your blog post that you threw together in 10 minutes didn’t go viral.

Stop questioning the value of social media when you can’t get any twitter followers in the first few months.

Stop dipping your toes in, and wondering why the rivers of cash haven’t started flowing.

It’s frustrating.  It takes time, it takes practice…it takes serious effort.

But trust me…it’s worth it.

12 thoughts on “The Stupidly Obvious Secret Ingredient to Social Media Success

  1. David —

    There is no question that social media takes effort. However, it is also important to define what success looks like to you. The markers of success may vary greatly from person to person. Depending on the person and the definition, success could be monetizing a blog, using social media to generate leads and sales, amassing a certain number of followers (not my idea of success), or even just being regularly challenged by new ideas. Without having a clear picture of what you hope to achieve in social media and recognizing that it takes consistent effort (even if you are clever and entertaining), you are destined for the trough of despair that tends to accompany “shiny objects” that have value if you put in the effort but are, by no means a silver bullet.

    1. Of course, there are many considerations in where you should place your effort.

      Point is though…the amount of effort will determine how effective you are in reaching any of those goals.

      Thanks for the comment.

  2. Awesome post, David.

    My favorite quote has to be this – “Get your hands dirty, go above and beyond for your community, struggle for the of benefit others, and rack your brain for new ways to help people.”

    I hate to climb on the passion bandwagon, but I will say I think it’s important to be naturally passionate about social media. My friends are wondering why they don’t have followers and they’ve abandoned their Twitter account because they “can’t keep up”. If you like using social media and find it interesting, then I agree – stop complaining, and bring value to your community. Success isn’t only reserved for those who are already established.

    Nice job here!

    1. Thanks for the kind comment Sam.

      I don’t think that you need to be passionate about social media though. It’s hard to be passionate about a tool.

      An artist isn’t passionate about brushed and canvas. They’re passionate about the emotions and results of how they use those tools.

      So while it’s good that you think the tools are cool, your passion, or “effort” should be in contributing, in helping the community…in bringing value to others.

      Passion for twitter won’t get you followers. Passion for people will.

      …and I think you already know all that Sam (=

  3. Hi David –

    Work is still work, even if it’s on the internet. Lasting success – whatever your definition – comes from consistently making progress, doing something, learning something, making an effort. Because we can *communicate* instantly, we sometimes forget that the results of our efforts aren’t instantaneous. And they never have been.

    Thanks for the shoutout.


    1. It can seem so easy when you’re looking at the big picture.

      Yea! We’ll start a blog! We’ll be active on twitter! etc etc…

      Getting in done takes a lot of effort and discipline. It’s no easier than any other job.

      Thanks for stopping in.

  4. Great post. I am curious though, how long did it take you to craft this wonderful piece of delicious eye candy that made me cry copious amounts of face water?

    1. haha… not sure. Around 1.5 hours. I don’t think I’ve ever written a post in less than an hour.

      I do a lot of re-reading and editing.

      Also worth noting…effort does not always mean putting in more time.

      mmm…face water.

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