Wayne Sutton is social media. He personifies it so much so that his blog, which covers mobile marketing, app development, location-based services, social media, gadgets and technology, is aptly named SocialWayne. Heâ€™s been blogging since the 90s (way before WordPress was invented), has over 33,500 followers on Twitter, and even figured out a way to get people to follow him in real life using location-based services like TriOut.com and his own iPhone app, which both provide a Quick Response code reader and offers real-time group chat. In fact, Sutton, 36, a former network administrator, cofounded TriOutNC by leveraging the idea that QR code check-in contests could help brick and mortar businesses in North Carolinaâ€™s Research Triangle region take advantage of social mediaâ€™s ability to amass traffic on the Internet and in real life.
More recently, he became one of six Black cofounders of GoKit.me, a startup launched in 48 hours at the South by Southwest annual conference in Austin, TX. GoKit.me gives anyone an opportunity to build a digital press kit, brand their identity, and provide a virtual landing page for resumes, portfolios, and all of their social activities. As the director of business development, Sutton does for GoKit.me what he has been doing for TriOut and many other individuals, startups, and small businesses; he helps them understand how to communicate on the social web via brand strategy and marketing.
Based on his expertise, Sutton will be a speaker on the “Go Digital or Die Trying” session at the 2011 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurâ€™s Conference on May 22-25. But for now get a preview of his breadth of knowledge as part of Black Blogger Month.
I started blogging becauseâ€¦
I wanted to share my voice, thoughts, opinions, and information with others online. Years ago, before Twitter, before social networks, it was hard to find useful tech information. Blogging became that medium I used to help educate others. I blogged about gadgets, web design, and Mac changes. It was more about technology and less about social media.
What influences me nowâ€¦
Is the fact that I know I have an audience and a readership and they have certain expectations of me. Knowing that, I try to provide the content that theyâ€™re looking for, things that are helpful to others, while at the same time being true to who I am and writing about things Iâ€™m still interested in.
People trust my brand becauseâ€¦
Of the relationships that Iâ€™ve built with them online. I try to meet as many people I can at conferences like SXSW and other events or just have a dialogue with them on Twitter or Facebook. It builds up integrity around your blog so when you do write something, people will trust or respect what you have to say because of the relationships that you built. Also, they trust me because I donâ€™t post information that is incorrect just for SEO. That is not to say that I never have or never will use SEO. You need search traffic, but you should try to put up good content and people will trust you as a resource and come back to that.
The biggest mistake I ever made in business wasâ€¦
Not being consistent writing on one blog. Social Wayne started in 2007, but that wasnâ€™t my first blog. I had a blog in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but I let them die and started something else. I had a Blogspot, I had a WordPress.com, I had a Squarespace blog. Even two years ago, I had a dot.tv Website then I had another blog where I was writing about something else. I had different blogs all over the place and I never stuck to one URL or one blog over the yearsâ€¦
What I learned from that wasâ€¦
Be consistent on one platform, have that one URL, one primary domain name, and one primary blog. If people say, what do you write about or where can I find more information about you [then you have one place for them to go]â€¦ Now I have just one blog where I can focus my energy. That has been valuable to me for search traffic. I may write some personal stuff every now and then but my blog has a mission statement or a content statement stating that the SocialWayne blog covers mobile marketing, application development, location based services, social media, gadgets and technology. I stick to that now and Iâ€™m not all over the place.
I realized blogging was a businessâ€¦
In the early 2000s. Being a geek and a former network administrator who builds Websites and does Website design Iâ€™ve always looked at the internet as a business. I knew you could make money blogging despite people saying it would never be anything more than people in their pajamas blogging. Mainstream media discredited blogging. Bloggerâ€™s couldnâ€™t get press passes. They didnâ€™t want to quote a blogger. People looked down on you if you were a blogger. I always felt it could be something.
Uncle Sam got involved in my blog afterâ€¦
In 2004 and 2005 I had my gadget blog and I was getting traffic and I had my Google Adwords kickback so I knew I could make money off of it. I probably made a few thousand dollars a year back then. It wasnâ€™t a whole lot, but I thought I was doing something. As a blogger revenue comes indirectly. Because I can get consultant jobs from blogging. I get speaking jobs from blogging. And then I get stuff that can be considered income, perks, trips, and productsâ€¦ Uncle Sam got involved because I had to report that to the IRS. If you get money you have to report it.
I would feel obsolete if Iâ€¦
Skipped writing more than three to four days on my blog.
Every small business owner in the 21st century shouldâ€¦
Have an online presence that is optimized for mobile devices but includes a place that tells the story of the company.
Be sure to check out the rest of the digital thought leaders as they’re revealed each day by logging on to BlackEnterprise.com/BlackBloggerMonth.