This is all fascinating and scary.
Although my pages on other sites all have social networking "like" options for users, I rarely use social media to link to my own pages or websites. Not because I frown on the whole thing - I don't; I too think it's the wave of the future. But because I have a rather pathetic social base to start with and because my niches are of absolutely zero interest to my friends. My friends are not my market.
I guess I should start "meeting" people online who are my market, but that's a full-time job in itself and involves creating multiple personas, and if I'm going to do that, or so I tell myself, I might as well be writing fiction, which I can't do right now, which is the reason I got into web content in the first place.
I understand that being self-employed is sink or swim. I've been self-employed on a part-time or full-time basis for many years. But it's darn hard to fight the forces of stubbornness and being set in your ways - an attitude working for yourself encourages.
Has anyone who fits my profile found success in social media? As in...who does NOT already have an established base of personal friends and acquaintances who have even a vague interest in the niche? Does not have opportunities to attend live networking events with the target market? Has very little contact with the market? Inspiration would be nice.
As others have said, not every approach works for everyone. And the great thing about the Internet is its ability to accommodate a diverse group of talents and lifestyles. But it's also a place where one tends to fall into a comfortable slot and sit there. Is there anyone who's ventured out of their slot and never looked back?
What I keep thinking is that the ultimate solution is to get big enough to hire someone or go into partnership. Service professions really are exploding. I recall reading a while back about a teenager in Australia who began a business planning parties - not corporate events, but fun parties. He was good at throwing parties and made that into his career. And so many people are providing services now virtually. This is a radical thing - the scope and availability of services. It's only going to increase.
What I'm thinking is that for a while, we'll need to step outside our comfort zones to survive, but that eventually we're all going to become a complex network of skills and rely on each other for specialization. It would actually be pretty darn cool if we could easily form cooperative ventures. I wouldn't have to be wrestling with learning webmaster stuff that is definitely not native to my intelligence or networking with strangers when all I want to do is hole up in a comfy ball, writing...and I know I've met others who would much rather socialize than write...and far fewer who love both.
[edited by: Lapizuli at 7:25 am (utc) on Sep 18, 2010]