One of the biggest struggles with social media is impatience.
Ryan, our creative strategist has proudly worked the New York City Marathon for five consecutive years and he found a not-so-surprising metaphor comparing long distance running with social media presence.
Social media marketing is a marathon, hence the metaphor. If you are used to the quick, instant gratification of Pay Per Click, or online banner advertisements, then you have to readjust your perspective when it comes to social media marketing. Seeing the results of social media means developing long term trust and relationships with your customer base through engagements. Don’t be discouraged if you’re not seeing immediate returns on your social media efforts, but if you stay the course and continue to have strong engagements, you can build a quality presence and voice that will continue to give you a return.
Here are some helpful hints:
? Unless you are superhuman, the average person can’t get out of bed and run 5 miles, let alone 26.2 without training. Most people map out a training plan to ensure they are ready to run for a very long time. For newbies, the internet is full of tried and true training programs that can help on the path to success. Also, we highly recommend investing in a good pair of shoes.
? When joining a social network it is important to do your due diligence to learn who is out there and active in your space. Are there influential partners, third parties, reporters, lawmakers, bloggers or similar organizations that are talking about your issues? If so, follow them! Know what they are saying about your industry and your issues. Research which hashtags are most used by your industry and follow those too. Believe it or not people are talking about issues with or without you.
? Training for a race needs to happen more than one day a week. Training needs to be consistent, and takes place rain or shine. If not, there is the risk for injury or even worse mental fatigue that will prevent you from pushing through the exhaustion and pain on race day.
? Once a social media profile is created it has to be used, and used on a regular basis. Tweeting or posting to Facebook doesn’t have to happen multiple times every day, but at a minimum it should happen a few times a week. To be successful, a social media profile needs to have a base of loyal followers. It takes time and consistency to build that base.
Since you never know where someone will stand on an issue, always be respectful and respond to Direct Messages and comments quickly. Be responsive to questions and be honest and forthcoming with information. Social media provides a unique platform to engage with supporters, and when you see a retweet or a comment from a follower, it makes the effort you have put into cultivating a social media presence worthwhile.
It’s about the journey not the destination.
? The best part about running is the feeling of crossing the finish line. That’s when you know that all of your hard work has paid off and you can finally stop running! This feeling wouldn’t be nearly as addictive if you didn’t have to work hard to achieve it. Knowing that you got up at 5 a.m. to go for a run prior to work, or that you spent a Friday or Saturday night on the couch instead of out with friends so you could get in a long run the next day, makes the joy of crossing the finish line even sweeter. If it weren’t for all that hard work and sacrifice the feeling of crossing the finish line wouldn’t be as euphoric.
? However, with social media there is no finish line, along the way to building 100 or 1,000 followers you want to constantly develop relationships. Don’t let the fact that there is no finish line overwhelm you. Just like with running, it is important to set goals for yourself, but instead of miles, these goals can consist of reaching 100 followers, then 1000, engaging with 10 users per week, then 25, then 100, and so on.
On your mark. Get set. Go!