Bake a Bigger Pie: What social media has to teach about You Economy business – or – Top Ten lists be damned!

My social media consumption is at an all time low. At best, Twitter & Facebook are boring. At worst, they’re perpetuating the model of business that got us in this economic mess to begin with.

All I see is formula headline after formula headline, 6 ways for this and 3 tricks for that. They all promise big returns. They are almost (and I’m only saying that to be nice) all fluff.

The bits of brilliance are few & far between. But they’re enough to keep me around.

Radiant self-promotion doesn’t bother me. Scrambling for a just-slightly-bigger piece of the pie does.

Let me explain.

It’s not that organizing information in an easy-to-read way is bad. I could do a better job of that myself. It’s not that writing clever headlines is bad. It’s not.

What is unfortunate is that this trend means solopreneurs are simply resorting to what corporations have been doing for years, going after their competitors instead of bringing more customers & value into the market.

“Now hold up!” you might say. “How is a formula blog post going after a competitor?”

Excellent question. You don’t have to slam a competitor or blatantly try to steal traffic, sales, or customer loyalty to be playing the competitive advantage game.

Competitive advantage is the name of the Them Economy game.

They try to eek out a percentage point here, pennies on the dollar there. Sure, it works. But for how long? They see the market as finite. There are only so many eyeballs — better optimize my business to attract the highest percentage.

They are going for a slice of the lifestyle design pie, the handmade marketplace pie, the travel hacking pie, the minimalist pie, the app pie, the self-publishing pie. They’re not bringing new customers into the fold. They’re not offering new ideas or fresh perspective.

They parrot others ideas in the hope that speaking the same words will yield the same results.

They show up in your Twitter stream to claim what’s theirs.

They see innovation at an end. Sure, the chips get smaller & the resolution gets brighter — but new? Nope, not right now. They don’t see new ideas around every corner, new opportunities for advancement just over every horizon.

They are more concerned with their social media strategy than they are with making your life better, easier, healthier, more connected, or more meaningful.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t have to buy it.

And we don’t have to rely on carving out a bigger piece of the pie for ourselves at the expense of others.

You Economy businesses know that the market is infinite. Click to spread the word! It is only limited by their ability to invite customers to the table.

You Economy businesses know that it’s not a matter of capturing a piece of what already exists but about creating something new, uniquely you, and in service of others. Baking a bigger pie leads to the greatest success.

You Economy businesses create welcoming spaces that use meaning, relationship, and experience to provide multidimensional value to a wider audience. They propose new ideas and invite others to participate in making them whole. They connect people to ambitions greater than any individual company or person could hold for themselves.

And yes, you can do this 140 characters at a time. Try it.

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Want to learn how to craft a business that gives back more than it takes while leaving you wealthier than you could ever imagine? That’s what I’m teaching at The Art of Earning LIVE. Grab your virtual ticket today.

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10 comments on “Bake a Bigger Pie: What social media has to teach about You Economy business – or – Top Ten lists be damned!

  1. Laura Simms says:

    Bam! Tara has spoken. I’m launching my first paid product today, and it was tempting to follow the formulas and get salesy. But I know my people don’t respond well to hype. I am promoting the heck out if it, but in a way that feels aligned with me & my people. And it feels good. I love your idea of sending out the invitation–that feels just like what I’m doing. Abundance is good starting point for just about anything.

  2. I was reading your post while in line at my Food Coop, getting a bit riled up by your opening salvo and toying over a bit how I’d frame a rebuttal.

    You see, I advise small businesses and grass roots types about digital strategy and what excites me so much about using it is that the “little guy” really has a leg up in this realm, an abundance of the sort of passion and authenticity that be corporations wish they had.

    Because of that potential to leverage passion to new audiences, Facebook and Twitter never bore me. They excite me because of the potential they hold to elevate worthy voices that might not otherwise find a platform.

    So I do advise people to blog, to Tweet, to create a Facebook page. You’ll probably see me do a “10 ways to do this post” and the reason is simple, because those sorts of headlines are proven to be better at grabbing that split second of attention that you are, yes, competing for. I’m doing something I love, and I’ll damn near do anything to get the word out there.

    At the same time, it has to feel fluid and natural to the person posting — I think you’re speaking to a “formulaic”-ness afflicting so-called “social media strategy.” With that, I’m with you. I always think about a friend of mine who started this blog called I Have Cat, about being a single woman in the big city with cats — she did it not to become famous but because the subject meant a lot to her and, what do you know? It meant a lot to a whole lot of other people, and now, a year and a half later, she has something like 20,000 Facebook fans who want to chat with each other about the subject all the live-long day, all gained organically, strictly through word of mouth, not “strat.”

    So what started as my desire to “set the record” straight on social and small business has to end in a more nuanced place. When I’m working in the digital media space, I’m constantly reminded that no one knows anything really. The really fun stuff happens when we plug our passion into what we communicate.

    And if that’s what you’re getting at, then let this long comment underline it!

  3. gwyn says:

    The timing is perfect! I just wrote a post admitting to how I have not applied any of the marketing strategies I’ve paid good money for in the past year. Thus sales are pretty bad. I realize that my biggest problem is in the deep seated and irrational idea that Art and Earning cannot live in the same sentence, but also there is the matter of style.

    Top ten lists and do or die tweets do not fit me. They never will. I have gathered lots of good material and will use it, but in my own fashion. The biggest problem I see with the emarket is it overwhelmingly promotes the idea that there is a magic bullet. There is not. Hard work is the magic! Being authentic is the secret!
    Can’t wait for the Art of Earning Live!

  4. Beautiful. The infinite market is so real and yet so counter-cultural. I’ve come across this idea before, but I need to glue to my forehead until it really sinks in!

  5. Michelle says:

    LOVE this post. I’ve had a rant brewing in my head on formulaic-ness of headlines/blog posts and how it so frustrates me; I feel like the internet has such potential so to see it being used on hyperbole and fluff really annoys me. I hadn’t even thought about the fact that most of it is coming from a scarcity mindset, although that makes perfect sense. Thanks, Tara.

  6. I LOVE the concepts of the You Economy and how to use Social Media effectively with it, Tara! Thank you! and all the comments below, ladies, thanks for enlarging the pie!

    however, in trying to get what you are saying quickly so that I can do it “right’ and hurry up and participate in this You Economy, i am tempted to ask you how to do it, cuz it seems a little too conceptual with no simple “how-tos” breaking it all down into bite-size chunks for me. I mean I get what you’re saying…. sort of. i get it energetically, but i’m slow at fully grocking and implementing ( that’s just reporting accurately, i’m not trying to be self-deprecating.) but something inside of me is telling me to make a bigger effort & take more responsibility to really embrace and receive what you are offering, Tara, instead of expecting you to do it for me-
    1) because you may not want to answer my request (and that would be a little embarrassing- yep, i care about what you think!) and
    2) so that I can expand my receptivity skills & learn from you because I really want to contribute successfully to the You Economy.

    so i’m slowing down & taking the time to comment here, when meanwhile, I”m behind in your Website Kick Start online workshop and should be working on it! Yikes! But this feels really important and will totally serve me in learning how to design my website.

    So what i’m doing is i’m looking at what it is I AM already getting, rather than focusing on what I’m not getting i.e. how to “create welcoming spaces that use meaning, relationship, and experience to provide multidimensional value to a wider audience.” Oy! That’s a mouthful! Energetically, right off the bat, what I’m getting is that you are offering an expanded view of my participation in the economy that is very optimistic, building, inspiring, encouraging and you’re doing it in a way that I actually believe you! that’s a feat! even if i’m not quite sure how to do what you’re saying yet, i am inspired to work harder at understanding it! Sheesh! You’re making me work for it!

    What I’m also receiving from you & the You Economy is that i don’t feel hyped the way the Them Economy tries to pump similar end results of ‘financial freedom’ etc… That feels like empty calories and a waste of time. Plus they seemingly make you feel like you can get-rich-quick- like the fast-food mentality while infusing an element of fear that it’s a race and you might lose out if you don’t hurry up and do it their way. That is so NOT abundant. You, on the other hand, are offering real nutrition, made with whole ingredients and cooked slowly to preserve all of the nutrients- and that my bones and brain and heart are all being fed so that I can be stronger and have the energy and stamina required to contribute to the You Economy and offer something that is uniquely me to the world, rather than be trying to take something away, which is what the Them Economy always feels like- like they want to teach me how to take or steal something rather than cultivate my skills to give.

    Wow! I think I”m really getting what you’re saying now that i’ve given myself the time + space to receive and respond to what it is I AM ‘already’ getting. And, lo & behold, that is a universal principle that I use in my somatic movement coaching- “move where you’re already moving, where there is already an open pathway in your body- not where you’re tight and sore and there is a blocked pathway.” “Go with the path of least resistance.” This whole exercise of really understanding for myself what you’re offering is exactly what the You Economy is about and how to tweet/blog/social media-ize about it. I have to drop into myself and receive & feel me, my perceptions, my understanding in order to be able to contribute something authentic, of value, something that will be nourishing to others- not to EVERYone- but to some- and I get that that is also part of the You Economy.

    I can’t expect to reach EVERYone- that is not the goal. Reach those who are drawn to me and what I have to offer. I’m part of a greater whole of people who are also contributing to the pie and reaching people- I don’t have to reach EVERYbody- we’re a Team! We all have something to offer if we take the time to receive ourselves and offer a piece of ourselves to share with others. I can’t offer EVERYthing to EVERYone! I can only offer what I have to offer- no more, no less. However, how I do that takes confronting myself, meeting myself, being honest about what it is I”m truly feeling. This is not a formula that anyone can teach me. This is a process. And I am forever learning how to do it and I am committed to holding a space and guiding people to find that in themselves through fluid movement and feeling what’s happening inside their body + emotions.

    Thank you, Tara, for modeling how to offer something of incredible value. Thank you for not giving the simple easy, how to steps- that don’t really work anyway! They minimalize- and take away “meaning” + they take away the impetus to confront ourselves. Thank you for challenging me to find this for myself. I truly feel the infinite abundance of the You Economy! It is not just a nice, expansive idea. It’s an actual “experience.” But I had to take responsibility, make the effort, and be courageous enough to face/admit the unknown/what i didn’t immediately understand. And I did this by tapping into what I was feeling and receiving which led me to all kinds of awarenesses and understandings and brought me to a much larger perspective-”provid[ing me] multi-dimensional value!” Your “new ideas [of the You Economy + Social Media] has truly “invite[d me] … to participate in making them whole[!!!!]” or at least adding to them :) “They [have inspired me to] connect … to ambitions greater than …[I was] hold[ing] for … [myself].” Wow!!! I LOVE fluid wisdom of how this works!

    Now i have something to offer! I will share this on my blog! Thank you thank you!

  7. Daniel Jordi says:

    Thanks for the perspective. My life (and now business) partner Sabrina and I began a career exploration business (for career explorers to follow their bliss) a few months ago. Finding quotes to tweet and gurus to follow quickly felt meaningless. Until I un-followed those who’s messages didn’t resonate (it’s liberating, try it!) and committed only to tweet notes of meaning – the pie definitely got bigger and it felt way more fun!

    • awesome! I also find those quotes to be rather meaningless, myself- at least when that is all someone is churning out. good to hear i’m not the only one! it’s like mindless retweeting.

  8. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I don’t like list posts but will still resort to them for no good reason other than that day I felt like that was “what I was supposed to do.” There’s so many things that feel formulaic to me and I vacillate about some of it because following certain recipes can lead to a tasty dish. Cherry

  9. Clara Boza says:

    Making the pie bigger, eschewing formulas, and rejecting ‘magic bullets’ is, of course, excellent advice, Tara. Thanks for this well-articulated reminder.

    Still, even this good advice can sound like a formula if you haven’t yet found the place in yourself where the courage to be a contrarian (if that’s what’s needed) lives. As you suggest, this isn’t about business strategy, but about knowing who you are and what it takes to be congruent in all aspects of your life.

    It’s hard, and it’s worthwhile. My heart goes out to all — and I include myself — who struggle every day to find that equilibrium.