What Every Student Entrepreneur Needs to Know to Succeed (4) Social Media

This is part of my Series on University Entrepreneurship

In the previous posts in this Series we established the mindset and awareness required as well as the immersion you need to initiate in your local startup ecosystem, and what you need to do to acquire subject matter expertise all with the objective of greatly increasing your chances of success as an entrepreneur.

In this post I'm focused on making sure you develop a robust on-line presence as I truly believe it to be an essential ingredient of your overall approach. I've noticed, however, that when I bring this up to student entrepreneurs I am mentoring, any combination of the following three questions and/or protestations typically arise. Here they are:

  1. Not sure why I need this? Sounds like a waste of time
  2. I wouldn't know what to blog about anyway
  3. Even if I agreed with you, I'm just too busy

Allow me to respond: 

1) Not sure why I need this? Sounds like a waste of time

If you're in this to win this, you need a robust online presence because entrepreneurs are only as strong as their networks. A strong online presence comprised of an active blog and/or twitter presence, etc. is simply mandatory in the world we're living in. Everyone's online, everyone will be looking you up online and if you're not there when they look- or hard to find- you essentially don't really exist. That's the opposite of what you need to have going for you if you aspire to running a company where you'll be depending on the good graces of a multitude of people including customers, service providers, potential partners, online tools, investors, etc. Work in obscurity and you're company will most certainly fail.

2) I wouldn't know what to blog about anyway

This may be the highest hurdle of all for most people. It is the virtual equivalent of the real world aversion certain fledgling entrepreneurs have about actually speaking to potential customers. 

Here's the thing- don't worry if you're not a subject matter expert in your field yet. The cool thing about a blog is you can write honestly about what you are actually going through. Turn your perception of what blogging is about on its head and think of your blog as an actual vehicle to learn about areas that interest you! For example, as you study the topic, why not post about certain things you have learned, about articles or books you have read, about lectures or conferences you have attended! Take photos and post those along with your written content. Be insightful, thoughtful, original. Before you know it your blog has become a workspace for you. Get a blogroll of all the blogs you follow, archive your posts and categorize them. Have fun with it and be authentic. In time, you won't ever look back.

3) Even if I agreed with you, I'm just too busy

Wow, ok. I always need to take a deep breath when this is said. And I think I've maybe been a tad too polite with certain folks who drop this one on me (which is a disservice to them actually). I know other folks like Gary V that would probably flip out at this point. Here's why:

As busy as you feel you are, you'll actually never have as much freedom (read: time) on your hands as you have right now. You probably aren't married yet, don't have kids yet, don't have a full-time job, etc. Obviously there are certain students who do have difficult situations on their hands and concommitant obligations and I'm not disrespecting anyone in this situation. But if you are not burdened by such obligations, then the real problem is probably that you are just not cut out for entrepreneurship. I know that *sounds* harsh, but it really isn't. If you aren't prioritizing the things that give you every advantage possible as a fledgling entrepreneur, your heart's probably not in it. And if this stuff isn't making sense and seems like a burden to you, that's totally fine, but I think it may be best for you to start thinking about getting a job somewhere. 

For the rest of you, look forward to seeing you on twitter and to reading your blogs, because....

You'll soon have a robust social media presence... 

For Part 5 of this Series click here