About the author
Margie Clayman works at her family’s advertising agency, Clayman
Advertising, where she represents the 3rd generation! Margie dreams of
Gaga’s gardens, but is only an amateur gardener herself. Margie blogs at
5 Lessons Gardening Can Teach You About Social Media
The other day, I was looking back at some of my earliest posts. It was an interesting exercise. I was hardly getting any comments. I didn’t even have a share button set up on my site yet. I kept plugging away though, assuming that eventually things would improve and I would start to see some results. This happily coincided with Ms. Gaga herself asking me if I wanted to write a guest post here in her garden. I say happily because it occurred to me, right at that moment, that there’s a lot you can learn about Social Media from gardening. Here are five lessons I have learned about Social Media from the little gardening I’ve done in my life.
You have to plant your seeds the right way
As any gardener knows, seeding a garden is much more art than science. If you put too many seeds into the ground, there’s a chance that most of them will grow, in which case you’ll have way too much on your hands. On the other hand, if you only plant 1 or 2 seeds and neither of them take root, you’re going to have a very empty garden.
So it is with Social Media. When you first start, you may want to plant tons and tons of seeds. In other words, you might want to have a presence on every single site possible, and you might want to post on each of those sites five times a day. On the other hand, maybe you decide you’re going to dedicate everything to just one platform. What if that doesn’t work out?
Just like in gardening, you need to plant your seeds in the world of Social Media just right. You want a full garden, but one you can manage.
You’re not always in control
Sometimes, even after seeding and fertilizing and doing everything perfectly, something crazy and unexpected happens and you are left with quite a challenge. Maybe you have a snow shower in late April (it’s happened here in Ohio). Maybe it doesn’t rain for weeks at a time, or maybe your shade tree falls down, leaving your shade-loving plants out in the hot sun.
There is a lot in Social Media that you can’t control too. You never know which blog post is going to hit people the right way. You also never know which blog post might hit people the really wrong way. You never know who might see your words. You never know, really, who will like you and who will never speak to you. You have to proceed the best you can, control what you can control, and hope for the best.
Just like in gardening, you have to accept the fact that some things are just plain beyond your ability to control, no matter how much you’d like to!
You have to make sure you harvest what you grow
In gardening, there are all sorts of ways to harvest. You can harvest the seeds of your sunflowers so that you can have new sunflowers next year. You can dig up your tulip bulbs so that you can have more beautiful tulips next year. And of course, fruit and vegetables and herbs are rather important to harvest. Few things are sadder in the Summer than seeing a bunch of glorious tomatoes lying on the ground.
In Social Media, it’s also important to harvest what you grow, and just like in gardening, there are a lot of ways to do that. Are you building a relationship with someone who supports your work? Are you capturing traffic to your blog with Google Analytics? Are you using that information to expand your program and your knowledge of your community?
Just like in gardening, growing is just half the battle. Making sure you reap the rewards of all of that anxious waiting is super important, too!
You have to protect your work
There are so many pests that can spoil a garden. Slugs, bugs, droughts, animals, rodents, people, rain, hail…you name it. But gardeners have lots of ways to try to prevent and minimize the damage. Gardeners can use chemicals, fences, bars of soap, marigolds, and all sorts of other things to try to protect their precious green babies.
What are you doing to protect yourself? Are you being careful what you put online? Are you thinking before clicking a link from someone you don’t know? Are you aligning yourself with people who will support you and stand up for you?
Just like in gardening, protection is key in Social Media, and there are all kinds of ways to go about it. Pick your favorite, whatever that may be, but make sure you do what you need to do.
I alluded to this one a bit at the start, but it’s so important in both gardening and in Social Media (not to mention millions of other things like, I don’t know, your life!). There are some plants that take years and years to finally bloom. It takes 2-3 years to get an asparagus plant to produce asparagus. It can take decades to get your garden to be the way you want it to be. All kinds of things are plotting against your success, but you have to keep envisioning the day when all of your work pays off.
This is definitely true in the online world. Even though a lot of people think that finding success in Social Media is a matter of hours, it can in fact be years. Years of blogging, of tweeting, of Facebooking and networking. Years of not seeming to get the attention you think you should be getting. Months of getting no response at all. But you have to keep on plugging away towards that picture in your mind. You have to believe that one day, all of your efforts, all of those long hours, will help you create exactly what you want to create.
Just like in gardening, you have to wait for the really great things that are possible in the world of Social Media, but you will be so glad you did.
What has gardening taught you about Social Media? Let’s talk about it in the comments section!