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Are you surfing the social media wave (or are you too far ahead or behind)?

Social media marketing and digital PR consultants spend too much time paddling and not enough time surfing. Let me explain: it’s my opinion that social media and digital marketing strategists spend so much time paddling ahead of the breaking wave that they never benefit from the ride. Put in simple terms: none of the consulting money, jobs, or gigs live too far along the bleeding edge. I was selling search engine optimization ten years ago but SEO only became legit and de rigueur 18-months-ago.

English: Tyler surfing
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was selling online reputation management back in 2005 but ORM really only became an essential crisis strategy a few years ago. I was so far ahead of the wave that by the time the wave came around, I was exhausted from paddling!

Be careful! You might be such an early adopter that you call death on each meme, platform, trend, and social network just before it becomes The Next Big Thing — sort of like rejecting the band you discovered in that dive deep in Brooklyn, the band you love, just because it finally got booked at Madison Square Garden.

Here’s a hint: there’s no real money in risk. You might think that being cutting-edge with regards to tech, social media, communications channels, and advertising is the best differentiator, your secret weapon.

It’s not true.

You might have very few competitors for that space but you’ll also have very few clients who are willing to write checks towards unproven channels.

16bbd-toyota-rav4-get-outdoors-surfer-james-hick-wave-2-536x302I grew up in Hawaii, see, so this article will be using surfing as a metaphor. Surfing is tricky and has much more to do with timing and being in the right place at the right time than anything else — even more than how strong your lats are or how hard and fast you can paddle.

Here’s the secret about surfing: surfing’s surely not about getting ahead of a wave and it’s definitely not about chasing down a wave that’s already passed you, it’s about dropping in on a wave.

The perfect timing is exactly when the wave is cresting, before it breaks, well before it crashes.

English: A big wave is breaking in Santa Cruz,...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Surfers don’t catch breaking waves, they catch cresting — catchable — waves.

Beginners chase uncatchable waves, hoping to either paddle hard enough to make it to cresting or they’ll catch breaking — and sometimes crashing — waves.


English: 2010 Mavericks surfing competition. T...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Obviously, don’t miss the wave; but even missing a wave is fun. There’s a lot of fun to be had catching crashing shore breaks. There are plenty of crumbs cleaning up after markets that are well past their primes — in fact, there are still thousands of people who support obsolete tech. Typewriter repair shops, print shops, printer repair teams, vacuum repair shops, and so forth. However, it’s really hard to make money from a market that doesn’t exist yet.

They call this the first-mover advantage and it’s a grind. There might well be lots of reward but it’s a very risky proposition.

Big Wednesday - Hank FotosBeing the savviest, smartest, or most curious kid who has his or her finger on the pulse of what’s happening now in the Valley or in deepest, darkest Brooklyn may well be a recipe for bankruptcy and destruction unless you’re able to persist through the calm between sets or you’re able to use marketing, PR, buzz, and publishing to kick start that wave into existence.

Jeff-Rowley-Billabong-XXL-Ride-of-The-Year-Finalist-Jaws-Peahi-Maui-Hawaii-1That smart money says that in a country of over 316 million Americans with 273,785,413 people online with access to a world of 7.1 billion with 2,405,518,376 global Internet users, there’s plenty of work to go around — whether you’ve timed it perfectly and dropped into the most amazing tubular wave or are just splashing around in the surf, forget the cutting edge!

Another advantage of spending your time on top of the wave, rather than well ahead of it, is that you won’t have to work so hard.

Instead of creating a wave out of whole H20, you’ll be able to benefit from everyone else’s hard work and, with just a little bit of salesmanship and some mad skills, a staff with practical experience, and tools that were made especially to service this sector, you’ll soon be printing your own money!

And just think about all the best salemen: they’re still selling widgets. And think about all the movie producers: they’re selling the same superhero stories every couple years, remade.

kerrie_lawAnd, think about your teachers in elementary school, high school, college, and grad school: very little innovation outside of a couple bells and whistles, for the most part!

You should do the same thing. Become a stone cold expert in something that’s cresting right now and catch that wave. If you play your cards right, you’ll be riding that wave for years. And, if you’re smart, you’ll make the sort of adjustments to keep that wave going for a solid decade, just like me.

Don’t go chasing waterfalls. Please stick to the rivers and lakes that you’re used to. I know that you’re gonna have it your way or nothing at all. But I think you’re moving too fast.

Hang-ten social media marketing rockstar. Don’t worry, there’s a new generation of businesses, clients, and staff who will need your savvy insights and benefit from your experiences for the foreseeable future — and, at the very least, even if you suck, there’s a sucker born every minute . . .

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Chris Abraham

Chris Abraham, digital strategist and technologist, is a leading expert in digital: search engine optimization (SEO), online relationship management (ORM), Internet privacy, Wikipedia curationsocial media strategy, and online public relations with a focus on blogger outreachinfluencer engagement, and Internet crisis response, with the digital PR and social media marketing agency Gerris digital. [Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call with me] A pioneer in online social networks and publishing, with a natural facility for anticipating the next big thing, Chris is an Internet analyst, web strategy consultant and adviser to the industries' leading firms. Chris Abraham specializes in web technologies, including content marketing, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer generated media.  Chris Abraham was named a Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer by Forbes, #1 PR2.0 Influencer by Traackr, and top-10 social media influencers by Marketwire; and, for what it’s worth, Chris has a Klout of 79 the last time he looked. Chris Abraham started doing web development back in 1994, SEO in 1998, blogging in 1999, influencer engagement in 2003, social media strategy in 2005, blogger outreach in 2006, and Wikipedia curation in 2007. Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call. If you want to know the services that Chris offers check out Services If you want to work with Chris use the Contact Form You're welcome to follow me via Social Media You can learn more about Chris over in About Chris writes a lot so check out the Blog Chris offers webinars so check Events

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