The Rules of the Pool Post by Chris Brogan is Worth Reading

Posted by Stephanie Valentine on September 17, 2009 in Small Business Marketing |

I love reading Chris Brogan’s stuff. Here’s this social media guru who is humble, funny, and really knows his stuff … and even though I know he is brilliant he frequently manages to catch me by surprise with a post from out of left field. I read this “Rules of the Pool” post recently and I was blown away.

Read Chris’ post here.

I have always felt that the people who call themselves “experts” in online marketing are the ones I should stay far, far away from. I’ve never felt that their advice was right for small business. For big business with a big budget? Probably. But for us little guys swimming around in the big scary online pond, a lot of their advice is good but totally out of reach. Asking a small business to do online marketing at the rate the experts advise is, frankly, impossible, both in terms of time and money.

In fact, for a long time now I’ve felt that figuring out online marketing and social media for small business is kind of like a blind date: there are a lot of tentative steps, some experimental groping, and some startling surprises. OK, actually, it’s all a big grope-fest. There are some people who do it well (like John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing) and some people who don’t do it so well (who will remain unnamed).

Then there are the name-callers who tell us that we can’t be “authentic” if we use automated software to follow people who follow us on Twitter. My thought on this? People who have enough time to manually pick through and follow people on Twitter are NOT running a real small business. They’re just … well, I don’t know what they’re doing but it’s not running a full time small business.

So back to Chris’ post. His post basically says that the experts on online marketing can’t agree on the “rules.” In other words, there’s a lot of debate out there about the right way to do things, how to do things, what to do, what is professional and what’s not. No one agrees. As a result, Chris points out that there should be no name-calling at all … if the experts can’t even establish a baseline for what constitutes “good” and “bad” online marketing, then calling some marketing “bad” might very well be the pot calling the kettle black.

I love Chris’ work for its authenticity, its boldness, and its personalization. If you write him, chances are that he’ll write you back. He even tells you how best to communicate with him. Having said all of those kudos, I long ago realized I am no Chris Brogan. I have neither the time nor the talent to be the social marketing whiz that he is.

Reading his post on “Rules of the Pool” allowed me to heave a huge sigh of relief that I don’t have to be just like him to succeed. I can find my own way to promote my small business online. And since there are no rules to this pool, a little groping, experimenting, and falling down are just fine by me.

What about you?


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