As humans, instant gratification is in our DNA, and we now live in a society which is increasingly being built on immediate access. When we want something, we want it now - we don't want to wait in line or even wait for a mobile web page to load on our device. This is why you now have only eight seconds to make that first digital impression when your dream customer visits your blog, website or social network profiles.
When consumers are inconvenienced by a wait of any kind they'll very often head straight to the next website, the next store, or they'll skip the purchase altogether. Bottom line - time is our most valuable asset. We'll pay more for almost any product or service, if doing so can save us time.
Business and marketing leaders aren't much different. They want results today, not next year.
And while many executives will start out 2020 by discussing long term goals and objectives, it won't be long before fists start banging on the board room tables, asking where the short term return is on projects that weren't scheduled to have a solid return for months or even years out. Trust me, after spending 15+ years working in corporate America, I've had to help herd the impatient cats and keep the sanity in many of these meetings, and they are not fun.
But why would we think that marketers and business leaders would think any different when it comes to social media?
I remember the early days of social media and watching the tweets fly with offers like:
- Free marketing with social media, join my workshop
- I can help you use free marketing with Facebook NOW
- Get instant results with this super duper quick social media plan
It's no wonder the marketers and business leaders, new to the social world, have expectations of instant results. It's what the “gurus” have been promising them through blog posts, podcasts, live videos and more for years.
How many times have you read a statement like:
“You HAVE to be on [insert social network flavor of the month] if you want to market to any human being aged 10 to 75 on planet earth.”
So what is the moral of this story?
Here's the real truth - social media is not a one night stand. Social media marketing success requires a long term commitment. It's not driven by the latest shiny object, it's not granted by sharing the latest memes.
You can't build a blog, launch a Facebook profile, post beautiful photos on your Instagram page and call it a day - social media marketing requires time to build, to establish an audience, to establish your brand, and grow.
Don't call it quits before you get started
Too many business owners and marketers are calling it quits before they even get started - they launch the blog, the invest in the brand, they optimize their company profiles. Then they wait for the profits to flow in
However, here's the problem - shortly after their “launch”, they give up. They give up because they don't then see the ROI they made up in their mind that they should - they fail to recognize that you can't build an engaged, profitable online community overnight.
It's the equivalent to going to the gym and working out for a couple of hours to lose weight, and then being upset that you didn't lose the weight you wanted to within two hours.
A social media one-night stand is like investing in a phone line and being mad it doesn't ring
Social media is a long term commitment. It's not a quick fix. It's not going to save your broken business.
If you're looking for a quick win with social media without the investment, you might as well spend your time on something else.
How can you achieve success with social media over the long term?
So, what do you need to do for success?
In a nutshell here are some key pointers:
- Do your research - Understand what social media is, and the time it's going to take you to be successful
- Know your audience - What do they want and need from you? How are you going to help them? What objectives do they have? How will you help them achieve their goals?
- Define your goals and objectives - What does success look like to you?
- Build your social media strategy and plan - Prioritize your tactics. You're going to need to define your brand, content, engagement and other specifics of your strategy
- Determine your key performance indicators (KPIs) - How will you measure success? KPIs will help measure your transformation
- Build and launch - Establish your presence on the top social networks that will provide you the highest return, based on where your target audience is active - and most importantly serve the needs of your customers
- Tweak, rinse, repeat and optimize
In addition, you need the right mindset. Consider these tips:
- Stop chasing shiny objects, period
- Stop listening to every blogger and podcaster telling you that you MUST be on the latest social network. Do your own research and make decisions based on what social networks, strategies and tactics will help you achieve your goals, and enable you to best serve your audience
- Get real with the state of your business, community, audience, brand awareness and what it's going to take to get to where you need to go
- Get real with your time, skills and how you're going to fill in the gaps
- Be willing to stop doing some of the things you're investing time into today, so you can prioritize the right things tomorrow
- Learn to say 'no' to the wrong things so that you can say 'yes' to the right ones
- Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and start focusing on the needs of your customer and your online community
- Realize that success is not going to be delivered by Amazon in a brown box with a silver platter inside. You will need to work hard for every like, view, Pin and share. Get used to it
- You need to do your homework. You need to dig in and learn the social networks. You also need to understand things like conversion funnels, social listening, engagement, influencer or micro-influencer marketing, KPIs and content marketing strategies
- Accept that you don't know everything and ask for help when needed. Find a mentor, consultant or agency who can help you
- Invest in yourself. Invest in your mind, body and spirit
- Realize that you're going to reap what you sow. Give more than you get, without expectation of return. You're in this for the long game, not just the short fix.
Establishing a profitable, effective social media presence for your business takes time, and yes, it also takes effort. It won't solve all of your problems in within the space of a couple of tweets, but done right, social platforms can be a key connective medium between you and your target audience, and solidify your broader marketing process.
A version of this post was first published on Pam Moore's blog.