Never Rest on Your Laurels

One of the more interesting highlights of last Thursday’s New, New Internet Conference (covered in full on The Buzz Bin and on Somewhat Frank) was Gary Vaynerchuk’s “Hustle 2.0 approach” to social media. Gary attributes Wine Library’s success to his always available, hands-on approach to the community. Gary takes the time to answer every patron’s email and questions about wine. He never rests on his laurels.

Applied to others, Vaynerchuk says that organizations that want social media success have to hustle, all the time. They can never let up and take a relaxed approach towards their community.

asg70 Hustle as a work ethic has been around for a long time (Pete Rose has to epitomize Hustle 1.0). The gist is you play out every play, small or large, never giving up, never assuming you’ve won.

This goes all the way back to ancient civilization when the concept “Don’t Rest on Your Laurels” was conceived. Wreaths of Laurels were given to competitive champions in the original Olympic games. According to Wilikipedia, ‘resting on one’s laurels’ refers to someone relying on their past success to cover up their current shoddy efforts.”

Hustle and Laurels Applied

Applied to now, bloggers and community managers who become satisfied with their progress, or who cannot continue to innovate and serve the community intelligently risk failure. Without hustle and a continued commitment to excellence, social media efforts can fall to the wayside.

We are in a fractured media environment which is highly competitive. If you don’t provide your community content, others will.

Over the summer, many of my fellow PR and marketing bloggers stopped posting in August, deciding to take a break. Without fail, almost all of them have seen a slide in Technorati authority. They lost a month’s worth of unique links. Others, like Valeria Maltoni’s Conversation Agent and my own Buzz Bin continued posting through the summer. As a result, RSS subscribers and Technorati authority increased.

Look, blogging authority is subjective. There are more causes behind garnering and losing links. But it’s a benchmark that directly ties to how many people link to you. If you rest on your laurels and provide less — in frequency and quality — then you will start losing traction. Competitive advantage demands hustle and a long-term commitment to creating quality, compelling content for the community.

On Friday I asked a related question to my Twitter friends, “When do you know you have achieved social media success?” As you can see several folks arrived at the same ethos: Never.