Succeeding at Social Media – It Only Gets Harder From Here

We have been talking about Social Media a lot here over the last few years. We have covered tips on your strategy, tools and measuring. There is something I am not sure we have covered in depth yet… succeeding in social media and getting truck loads of business from it takes a lot of work.

Kasi and I are training for a half marathon in April, neither of us consider ourselves runners but we made it a goal to achieve during these cold winter months. We are following a formal half marathon training program. Up until now, the training has been relatively easy – running 3 days a week 3-4 miles each time. We got that down! From this week forward it starts getting really hard, more running and longer distances.

Running 3-4 miles 3-4 times a week can be done with little effect on my daily life. You can do that time on a lunch break, before work, after work, you can miss a day and make it up the next etc. If our goal was to only be people who ran 3-4 miles at a time we could rest comfortably right here without making any additional effort that would never really cause us any discomfort but, that is not what our goal was/is. Our goal is to run a whole half marathon (13.1 miles).

To complete our goal we need to really schedule our runs, keep track of time and pace, plan meals accordingly, as these runs get worse longer – we need to schedule recovery time and in some cases full half days need to be blocked off. This is going to be hard work from here on in.

Really succeeding at social media is work

Like our 3-4 mile running program, if you just want to be seen on social media and dabble you can sign up for Twitter, make a Facebook fan page, join LinkedIn, etc. If the goal for your business is to really succeed in social media (the whole 13.1 miles), you can’t just join social networks and wait for something to happen.

To really succeed at Social Media you need to:

  • Set concrete goals and milestones for your social media presence (make a million dollars with social media is not a good goal to have here). You need actual tangible goals and to set a time-line for tracking your progress to these goals.
  • Schedule time each day you are going to participate in this space. Social Media cheerleaders will tell you how great social media is and it is free. Signing up for most social media sites is free but it takes time to use them effectively. If you are going to be available 3 days in a row and regularly striking up conversations with your network, what happens when you take the next four days off? You need to set expectation for what people will get from a relationship with your business online and you need to stick to those or you will leave a trail of confused and possibly frustrated people online trying to keep a conversation with you going.
  • Be dedicated to seeing this through and making it work. You are not going to be an overnight success. This is going to take time. You need time to build trust with your network and make useful connections online.
  • You may need to reallocate resources and cut what is standing in your way. As with our running example, if I have a 12 mile run on Saturday – it is going to affect what I do on Friday. I may not be able to attend social events Friday evenings because they will conflict with the milestone I have to meet the next day. You may need to reallocate resources, personnel and more to make sure your needs are being met in this online space.
  • Track what is working and what is not. Keep track of what you are doing online and see what is working and what is not. If something is not working (a specific site is showing no inbound links to your website, no one is interacting with your content et. al), then stop wasting your time in that space.

Social media is great. It is a really neat space that I am happy to be a part of. It has helped many businesses with their online marketing. Social Media has helped people find jobs, experts, answers, relationships, business partners, vendors and more. The real true people who are finding success with social media are actually working really hard. This didn’t just happen by accident. So let’s set up the Twitter account, Facebook page, LinkedIn group and blog but then let’s really get down to business…