Last week I went hunting for a new entrepreneur who had disappeared from Twitter. I discovered that she hadn’t closed her account, but hadn’t participated for months. She had posted some interesting things so I wondered why she’d gone quiet. I sent her a message inquiring into her whereabouts and got a quick, but terse, reply saying, “Decided Twitter’s not for me.”

She’s not the first person I’ve heard voice such an opinion, of course. Another more seasoned entrepreneur, who is currently struggling, refuses to even consider social networking, blogging or any of the handy free tools at her disposal that could ultimately open new avenues of opportunity for her. In fact, she’s never understood the concept of e-mail as a form of conversation.

At the same time, almost everyone agrees that the best marketing–even in our sophisticated high tech world–is word of mouth. As Gary Vaynerchuk, host of Wine Library TV, told CNN, “Twitter is word of mouth on steriods.”  Why wouldn’t you want to take the time to be part of that?  At the very least, it’s an opportunity to promote other joyfully jobless folks. In fact, many social networkers enjoy giving support as much as they enjoy receiving it. (Not surprisingly, they’re the same ones getting lots of support in return, I’ve noticed.)

New entrepreneurs, especially those who are nervous about marketing, tend to hide out behind conventional forms of advertising, keeping a distance as it were. What they fail to realize is that all of us like to do business with people we know and like. And we can’t like you if you don’t let us get to know you.

When it comes to marketing, to creating visibility, to expanding your reach, what’s your sign? I’m not talking about billboards or astrology here. I’m talking about the subtle signs that convey your attitude.

Alas, I see a lot of Do Not Disturb signs, almost daring anyone to come close. That is not the path to healthy longevity in business. If you’re going to succeed, you’ll find a Welcome Mat is far more effective. Connect, collaborate, welcome newcommers into your life. You never know when you’re the answer to somebody’s prayer.

Man without a smiling face must not open a shop. ~ Chinese proverb


If you’d like to add to your marketing toolkit, join me for Cheap Tricks: Marketing on a Shoestring. I’ll be sharing dozens of free and inexpensive ways to put out the Welcome Mat in Madison, WI on June 18th. I’ll also be teaching Cheap Tricks in other locations this fall.