Many “social media experts” will tell you to be everywhere. Leave comments on every post pertaining to your industry. Go to every meetup. Network with every professional. They tell you you can’t sleep to network and market yourself effectively.
I know people like this and I generally feel sad for them. I sleep quite well (ten hours if you let me), hang out with friends, and actually prefer going on vacation instead of every marketing or 2.0 conference imaginable so as to “brand” myself with this. Not only is networking everywhere pretty soul-sucking, being everywhere for anyone is actually dangerous for a brand. Now why is this?
It’s the same reason why actors should be choosy about the projects they are in. It’s the reason why Starbucks is now having to disguise itself as local chains to avoid public backlash. Scholars are calling this phenomenon “brand avoidance”. We see one face or one brand so frequently in too many places. I think the less technical, teenager-esque term for this is “trying too hard”.
Saying “no” to a speaking engagement, event, or networking event does not mean you’ll disappear into obscurity forever. On the contrary, it means that when you do show up, you’ll be more interesting because you’ll have had time to actually build things and/or learn. Being a “snob” of sorts will afford you the time you need to build a brand based on your merits, not just on your connections. People will also not get as sick of you as they are as they are of the five pound box of Honey Bunches of Oats that they bought from Costco four months ago.
Think of Apple. They go to absolutely no events, never leave comments on blogs, and yet people literally plan their days around their product launches. It’s not about being everywhere–it’s about being in the right places at the right times.