ATYPICAL

Social Media is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

By Sarah Malcolm
When it comes to social media, you need to have the right mindset and goals. We have to be constantly changing our strategy because social media is constantly in a state of flux.

I once met with the client who wanted to get 10,000 followers in the month. I thought it was an April Fool's joke, except it wasn’t April. I've heard a similar refrain over and over again. Here's the rub:unless you are already a celebrity with a huge following somewhere else, goodluck! I've heard a similar refrain over and over again. Here's the rub: unless you are already a celebrity with a huge following somewhere else, good luck!

That doesn't mean that social media marketing won't work for you. It can, and with the right strategy and approach, it will.You need to have the right mindset and goals.

Go beyond “right now” with social

We all know much of what happens in the social universe is driven by the “now.” What current trends can we jump on today? What is our audience hashtagging right now? How many people are on social media right now?

We have to be constantly changing our strategy because social media is constantly in a state of flux. One person might be on asocial platform for five minutes at 9am, off again until 1pm, when they’re on for 20 minutes, off again until 7 and spend 10 minutes. They might check Facebook at 6am when they wake up and again when going to bed at 10 pm. You never know!

Since people are coming and going, and coming and going, they need to have multiple touch points with you. Building relationships requires trust. Building trust requires time.

The other factor is how social media networks are constantly changing. Facebook's recent announcement on its new video ranking guidelines are a prime example. We have to keep learning what works best for our audience in for the new algorithms. Content marketing requires experimentation. Effective experiments aren't ran once and called definitive. There are multiple trials before jumping to conclusions.

So you have to keep working at it every day to make incremental gains.

What do you want to get out of social?

Few people start off with hundreds of followers. Go ahead, I challenge you to ask any of your favorite industry influencers. Ask them how long it took them to grow to 1,000, 5,000, or 10,000 social media followers. The answer may surprise you. Most of these influencers have been working on their platform for years.

What influencers have in common is their long-term approach. They have something they wanted to get out of social media.

In order for you to keep investing your time over the long-term, you need to have a goal. Not just a month-over-month or quarter goal, but something you are shooting for over the year or longer.  All of your smaller goals simply add up to the big end result.

Growing your presence takes time

So if you want a larger share of your industry voice, you're going to have to keep working on building that voice through consistent, regular social media posting and interaction. You can't just create a social media account, post once or twice and call it a done deal. Your social training is for the Boston Marathon, not the 100M relay.

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