Social Networking, Part V
“You know everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.” (Will Rogers, New York Times Aug. 31 1924)
This has always been a favorite inspiring quote, in my mind. The idea is that no matter how much you know, or, how much you think you know, there’s always someone else who knows more about something else. This thought keeps us all humble.
The inverse of it is also true: “You know everybody is an expert, only on different subjects”. It’s this flip side that really gets me excited. I meet with a lot of people, helping them get their sites and their businesses started. Many of them aren’t sure what to do with their venture. They don’t feel like they have anything they’re really good at, or passionate about. With a little bit of conversation and personal reflection, they almost always find something that they know about, that moves them.
Part of it comes from the idea that we have to have some kind of credentials to be an “expert”. All you need is life experience. If what you’ve learned in your life can be applied to someone else’s life and make it better, then you are an expert on that thing. That’s all you need to know. You can even be a bad example and a good teacher at the same time. Read Steven Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, and you’ll see that easily 75% of the examples he uses in the book are of his own failure to live his own seven habits. This is not “Do as I say, not as I do”, this is “See? Look at the mistake I made, and let’s all learn from it!” Still, there are few that would say he didn’t qualify as an expert.
There is one social networking site built on the notion that “Everyone’s an Expert on Something!” They allow you to set up a site to show just that. This is squidoo.com. Squidoo is one of the “Social Bookmarking” type of sites that we mentioned last time. It’s a place for you to share your favorite sites and resources about a topic, by creating a “lens” site. I think it’s called a lens because you look through it to see a topic more closely. Here’s how to use Squidoo:
- Choose a topic
First of all, you want to select the topic of your lens page, and make it focus on something that both relates to your website and products, as well as relates to your audience. If your site sells tents and sleeping bags, your lens could be about camping and campsites. If your audience is senior citizens, and your site is about retirement planning, your lens could be about Medicaid or other financial issues relating to the over 50 set.
- Sign up and make your first lens
Go to squidoo.com, and register. In the process, you’ll be creating your first lens page. There are a lot of elements you can include on your page. The two most important ones are text and links. You’ll need text to include a lot of keywords, and links so that you can send people back to your website. Once the basic lens page is completed, add some content to it, so that there’s some substance there.
- Add links to it
A squidoo lens is all about linking. Start out by linking to any site you have that relates to the audience and the theme of the lens. Obviously your own website main page should be at the top of this list. Add links to the content pages in your site as well.
Then, go out and find other sites to add to the links section. Think: “What resources would my audience like to see?” If you include these resources in your lens, the site becomes more valuable to your audience, and they’re more likely to click through it.
- Spread the love
Once you’ve linked to someone else, contact them (usually via email) and tell them! They’ll be pleased that you thought their content was valuable enough to include on your site. They might even link back to your lens or your site as a result!
- Find other lenses and lensmakers, encourage linking
Finally, friend up with other relevant lensmakers, and encourage cross-linking of both lenses and sites. Keep adding more resources. And I don’t just mean straight links. Add YouTube videos, or blog feeds. Anything that will increase the value of your lens, and so indirectly, your website.
Remember that it’s this interconnectedness that drives the ‘net, the search engines, and eventually, all of e-commerce.
Take it from an expert! ;-)
Mark is the co-director of http://seotrafficmagnet.com, the search marketing consulting arm of Clickincome (http://clickincome.com). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including MarkHansenMusic.com and his MoBoy blog.