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Self-Marketing: The One Tool You’re Not Using

Hello, independent entrepreneurs. Let’s talk about your business. You’re doing everything right: you’ve got a great product, a great website, and you’re on social media.

But you’re still not selling as much as you hoped you would.

Why not? While you might be active on Facebook or Tumblr, you’re not on a social network that has over 25 million enthusiastic users that could be really interested in your product or services.

And that social network is LiveJournal.

Go ahead. Get out the jokes about how LiveJournal is the passé home of emo teenagers blogging about their feelings. I know you’re storing them up, so let them out.

But LiveJournal’s worldwide Alexa rank floats between 85 and 100, and the US rank generally sits somewhere between 220 and 225. While it might not be Facebook’s rank of 2, that’s still one heck of a relevant website. Now that the jokes are done and the numbers are on the table, let’s get down to why if you work for yourself, LiveJournal is worth your time.

LiveJournal loves niches.

wrigley field

Make cool necklaces like this? Let other jewelry fans know.

If you’re a fan of something, there’s a community about it on LiveJournal. Jewelry making? Yep. Freelancing? Sure. Star Wars? Of course. Once you discover and locate these communities, you’ve just tapped in to an entire potential buying market.

And make sure to cover all of your bases. If you make Star Trek-inspired jewelry, then join communities about Star Trek and about jewelry. All that’s left is to join the discussion and find natural ways to mention your products or link to your Etsy shop.

LiveJournal promotes community.

When you’re digitally surrounded by people you have something in common with, you really start to develop a bond. Other users become interested in you as a person and what you do for a living. “Oh, it just so happens, I’m a freelance blogger…”

Communities genuinely want to help out their members. They’ll post relevant information, job opportunities, and allow plenty of ways to network. Writing posts and commenting on others are a great way to showcase your skill or product without turning it into a sales pitch. (Hint: You can always link to your personal website on your profile page.)

LiveJournal inspires ideas.

LiveJournal: So much more than fan fiction and sad high schoolers.

You never know when or how inspiration will strike. So whether you’re indulging in a lengthy discussion or someone just posts a random comment, LiveJournal is the place to be for inspiration. When you’re surrounded by like-minded individuals, people will say things that are relevant to your interests.

Maybe someone has a suggestion for a product they’d like to own – you could make it. Maybe someone cracks a joke about the economy – you could turn that into a great blog post. Someone asks for financial advice – you could be that advisor. Personally, I’ve gained ideas for blog posts, short stories, crafts, and graphic design all from interactions within my distinct LiveJournal communities.

The social blogging network is free to join, so the only thing that you could potentially lose is a few hours of your time. And at the very least, you can gain a backlink to your personal website.

But I encourage you to branch out and explore the different communities within LiveJournal. What was once a dumping ground for teenage angst can now be a fun way to network and drive personal sales.

Big brands? This probably isn’t the best place for you to connect with potential customers, but brands like Disney have promoted the popular “writer’s block” prompt and found new fans and impressions that way.

Have you used LiveJournal before? Have you ever used it to help build your own personal brand?

IMAGE CREDIT TO GUUDMORNING!, FITS OF WANDERLUST ETSY STORE, AND LIVEJOURNAL’S OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE.


Mandy Kilinskis

Mandy is proud to be a part of QLP’s content team. A self-professed nerd, her interests include video games, sitcoms, superhero movies, iPods and iPhones but never Macs, and shockingly, writing. Her claims to fame are: owning over forty pairs of Chuck Taylor All Stars, offering spot-on coffee advice, and knowing an unbelievable amount of Disney Princess facts. You can connect with Mandy on

Comments

  1. david k waltz

    Mandy,

    Never heard of that one before – I will have to check it out. Thanks for the tip!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      David,

      No problem! Just a tip: if you’re searching for relevant communities, make sure you check when the last update was. There’s no point in trying to join a community that hasn’t updated in two years!

  2. Cybernetic SAM

    Oh man! I started a live journal pre-facebook and myspace, I haven’t used mine in years! I wonder if my account is even still active!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      I surprisingly had a Facebook before a LiveJournal – I only joined LJ about three or four years ago. But back in the day when emo-journaling was big, I had both a DeadJournal AND a Xanga. For the sake of humanity, I hope that those accounts are inactive and wiped clean of the internet.

  3. Rachel

    The community aspect of Livejournal is great, like you said, because of the ability to find niches and interact with the people who already want the things you’re selling or thinking of selling. I think the most important thing to remember, though, is: “find natural ways to mention your products”. Attempting to make a sales pitch in these communities is going to turn people off rather than get them interested. Being genuine is definitely important.

    Lots of great takeaways here that I think can apply to other social media outlets as well. Great stuff, Mandy!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      You’re right, Rachel. Trying to start a sales pitch on an LJ comm is definitely frowned upon. But when someone says something like, “Ah! What do I get for my friend’s birthday?!?!” you can make a valuable (and hopefully for you, profitable) suggestion.

  4. Jen

    I’ve never used Live Journal before, but I can see how it could be beneficial to a self-employed business owner. Any way to get yourself out there is great, especially if you can link back to your website or FB/Twitter account. It’s free advertising for yourself essentially…

    Great post Mandy!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Thanks, Jen!

      If people are serious about LiveJournal marketing, they could even make their products their journal icons. More exposure = better!

  5. Amy Swanson

    Like David, I have also never heard of this site before. But it sounds really interesting, so I can’t wait to check it out! Thanks Mandy bringing to my attention yet another awesome site!! :)

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Well, you know, I do what I can. :)

      People seem to either really like LiveJournal or find it fairly pointless. So my apologies if you end up not enamored with it.

  6. Tom Byron

    Mandy,

    Awesome piece, well said, and echoes what we know to be true of LiveJournal. We’ve been a bit under the radar for the past few years, but are working in a positive direction to get back on. Fact is LiveJournal is a robust community-based social network — like I like to say here “We invented social” — with so much going on. Expect to see some significant activity and announcements in the coming months. This is an exciting time for LJ.

    Regards,
    Tom Byron, Director of Marketing, LiveJournal
    http://www.livejournal.com

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Hi Tom!

      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!

      I’ve been a LiveJournal user for about four and a half years now, and I’m consistently impressed with the changes, updates, and user participation on the site. I love the support of ONTD communities and NaNoWriMo. I’ve made so many online connections and even a handful of real life friends from my participation on LiveJournal. I’m excited to hear that you have plans to bring LiveJournal back on the radar. I can’t wait to see the new changes that the coming months will bring to LJ!

  7. Joseph Giorgi

    “What was once a dumping ground for teenage angst can now be a fun way to network and drive personal sales.”

    Such a great line! And I never would have guessed. I almost forgot about LiveJournal. I never used it, but I knew a few people in college who did. Nice to see that their communities are so expansive these days.

    Great post, Mandy!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Thanks, Joe!

      If you had told me back in college that LJ was a site where I could generate leads to sell handmade tote bags, I wouldn’t have believed you. But one summer when I was strapped for cash…I did. It was a little surreal, but a great place to find people.

  8. Jill Tooley

    I’m totally going to sign up for an account! I never got in on this network when it first started (that was when the internet kind of scared me…you know, back in the 90s when it was new and frightening) but now’s my chance to redeem myself. :)

    Awesome post, and thanks for shedding light on the positives to the network. I never would’ve guessed that LJ was so good for business professionals!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      I was late to jump onto the bandwagon, too, but I think it’s better that I waited. Instead of turning it into Mandy’s Personal Xanga 2.0, I used it to research my interests and make connections.

      And not only is it great for self-marketing, but it’s also a fantastic way to find some of the most nerdy things on the internet. ;)

  9. Manda Olson

    Excellent article, Mandy! I used to have a Livejournal back in the day, mostly as a way to keep in touch with some old friends, and I know one of the website’s biggest features is the community it builds and the opportunities to connect with others who share your same passion. Thanks for the link to my etsy store…I haven’t explored using Livejournal as a marketing technique yet, but I think you’ve convinced me to give it a shot!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Thanks, Manda, and you’re welcome for the link. And thanks for stopping by to comment!

      As I told Joe, I was legitimately surprised when I was able to leverage LiveJournal to sell some tote bags. But it can be done! If you do end up picking it back up, I would definitely add links to your user profile and maybe make some of your user icons products of yours. I believe that you can even put individual links to the specific products via the icons!

  10. Eric

    You’re right. Seems like they promote much more of a community feeling, you know, discussion-based. Facebook always seemed to make status messages into something you’d hear from an obnoxious town crier. Establishing a dialogue, though, turns the technology into something a lot more meaningful and purposeful. Never knew much about LJ. Interesting read, Mandy!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Don’t get me wrong, Eric. For every community that’s in there fostering discussion and swapping political opinions, there’s another that’s just for sharing terrifying gifs or memes. But then again, if you’re someone that does graphic design for a living, maybe that’s where you should hang your hat.

      But I’m glad that you found it interesting! There are great things to do in LJ, we just have to find the right place to look. :)

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