Turns out my last post "Make your message easy to spread", was my 2500 (or 2049th according to some web page that count's them up) post at this blog. Doesn't matter, it's a lot. It got me thinking about how this blog was begun in a time before
Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. The idea was to give the customer an opportunity to hear about the stuff we we're up to at the nursery. I also liked the idea that the customer could contact the owner or someone in charge via the blog. No more going through "gate keepers" trying to get an answer. Post a question at the blog and withing 24 hours you had and answer. Cool stuff at the time. Remarkable really.
There is no doubt that we have been over inundated with different social media outlets to wile away the time. Can anyone really keep up with their Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Four Square, Blog, or Flickr accounts? Of course removing yourself from any one of these outlets might mean your missing out on some important news, so we keep plugging along. I am starting to think that the real mavericks out there will start culling some of their accounts so as to be able to focus better at one or two of them. I give guy's like Hugh MacLeod credit for making such a move. It's not easy un-plugging from potential information streams, but as Hugh say's, " ...Facebook and Twitter are too easy. Keeping up a decent blog that people actually want to take the time to read, that’s much harder. And it’s the hard stuff that pays off in the end."
When I started the blog in 2005 the nursery trade was still rocking and rolling. It would be another year before the housing market crashed here in California, and another year or two before the recession hit. Looking back at 2005 I realize we we're at the end of an era. The era of easy money and large landscape purchases was over. No equity in the house? No new outside entertainment area complete with outdoor TV and throw pillows. Times have changed, and only a few garden centers have changed with them. So many nurseries that we're the "bees knees" when times we're good, are now out of business. It seemed they we're doing everything right according to the old playbook. The problem is the play book got changed and no one received the memo. Where to go from here?
I believe that social media can be a powerful tactic, in a overall marketing strategy. Seems many businesses are using it as a strategy however, trying to cover up a lack of original ideas or products. "Hey, we can just keep doing things like we always have, and with social media people will soon discover how cool we are". Social media doesn't make you cool, it amplifies the cool stuff you are already doing, or planning. There was a time when just doing social media was a cool thing. That era is long over. If what you are doing is "remarkable" then people will remark about it, and you can help amplify that message through social media.
The garden businesses that stand out to me as models to follow, really are impossible to follow. They do things their own way, and not according to the old playbook. That's remarkable, and tends to get more social media amplification. That's the model to follow, the non
-model. Be a maverick and do things in a way they haven't been done before. It could be what you carry, or a way of doing business. Don't get caught up in over-analyzing your next move. Better to launch something now, than wait because it wasn't perfect to start with.
Certainly Steve Jobs knows about being a maverick. He knows about launching something less than perfect, and fixing it later. He spoke at Stanford University's commencement in 2005 and the speech is worth watching or reading, especially in light of his recent retirement. It will inspire you.
Stay hungry. Stay foolish.