Just like you, I have many hobbies and activities that I enjoy doing in my spare time. One of my favourite summertime pastimes happens to be fishing.
I have many fond memories of heading out in my dad’s beat up pick-up truck to the local lake or on special occasion to the river and spending the day chucking lures and bait in hopes of landing a lunker. I loved being outdoors, spending time with my dad and getting to act all grown up as it was one of the only times my mom would tolerate me carrying a pocket knife.
Now that I have kids of my own I still enjoy fishing and hope to pass this same love of the outdoors and this pastime over to them.
While on my latest fishing excursion to our local Old Man River in hopes of landing a 10+ lb Pike I began to think about the parallels between my day job in social media and my love of fishing.
This isn’t as crazy as it seems and I promise you I can tie the two together.
When fishing it’s important to know what species of fish you are going after. This not only helps in lure and bait selection but for narrowing down where you will be fishing as well. Knowing the type of fish you are targeting and what they eat can help increase your odds of catching something.
The same can be said in social media. Where is your audience located and what do they expect from you? Creating an ideal customer list can help you understand who your audience is and this can help you determine what they want and expect from you in terms of content.
When fishing it’s good to scout out location. Looking for places fish may hide for cover, deep holes where the big fish may be and for any obstacles your lure and boat could potentially get caught up in.
With social media you are need to understand the location you are “fishing” in as well. Are you on Twitter? You should be aware that you only have 140 characters to work with. On Google+? Conversations, big images and longer form posts can be successful. Pinterest? Big long images tend to get noticed easier. Instagram? All images must be square and hashtags are important. The point is toknow where you are and know the rules to increase your chances of connecting with your audience.
Sometimes you will find that even on the most perfect day in the most perfect conditions the fish just aren’t biting. Nothing is happening. Every lure and bait combination you try does nothing for you. Until you do something unexpected or a little different. Maybe throwing a top water bait or reeling faster or slower just to change up your presentation. Or maybe you target a new species.
The point is if your tactics aren’t supporting your strategy you have to be willing to make the best of the situation and maybe switch things up a bit. Have you only been posting link updates? Maybe try an image or a text update. Try including an image in your next tweet or using Twitter Cards. Try a longer post on Google+ with an image if you’ve only been sharing smaller link shares. Or try posting more or less or at different times than usual. You won’t know what works until you try it out.
If you caught something every time you went to the lake it would be called catching and not fishing.
Not every post you create, not every image and not every video or podcast you pour your time and energy into is going to go viral. It might not see thousands of shares or receive thousands of comments, it might not even see one. You know what? That is OK. Each time you publish a new piece of content it’s a chance to learn, to grow and to experiment. Keep on creating content your audience wants and keep thinking in the long term because that is what will help your business and your brand find the success you are after.
When out fishing chances are you don’t call it a day after only casting once. And chances are one cast won’t catch a fish. While I have been lucky enough to catch a fish off my first cast, it’s rare and doesn’t happen often. I also didn’t catch one and pack it in for the day.
In social media chances are you aren’t going to publish one blog post, one podcast, create one infographic or image and hit everything so perfect that it takes off and makes you internet famous. Again it’s happened but it’s rare. Instead you need to get into the trenches daily. You need to create, publish and share great content on a regular and consistent basis. Engage with your audience, engage with others in your industry and keep moving forward. Even if you do catch that “fish” on the first try it’s not time to give up. It’s time to dig deeper and keep working to create and build your audience, grow your brand and build awareness of what you do and what makes you special.
Fishing and social media. One is primitive, almost primal and the other involves the use of technology yet we can find parallels in both. There is an old saying that goes “A bad day spent fishing is better than a great day in the office” and this is very true. I though am lucky enough to get to spend my time doing something that I enjoy and so a bad day in the office is still usually pretty good. I also am lucky enough to be able to work from home which offers me the opportunity to sneak out and get a little extra fishing in from time to time.