As humans, instant gratification is in our DNA. We live in a society that's predicated on immediate response - 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.
When consumers are inconvenienced by wait times, they'll often move on, heading straight to the next website, the next store or even skipping the purchase all together. This is why many department stores are shutting down their physical locations, as consumers are opting for the Amazon purchase that can often be delivered same day.
Bottom line, there's value in time. We'll pay more for almost any product or service if it means we can avoid waiting.
Business and marketing leaders aren't much different. They want results today, not next year. And while many executives will start the year off discussing long term goals and objectives, it won't be long before the fists start banging on the board room tables asking where the return is on projects that weren't scheduled to produce results 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.
So 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 by looking something like this...
"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 that marketers and business leaders new to the social world have expectations of instant results - it's what the "gurus" have been promising them across blog posts, podcasts, live videos and the list goes on.
They've been screamed at with statements like:
"You HAVE to be on this _____ [insert social network flavor of the month] if you want to market to any human being aged 10 to 75 on planet earth."
"Do this... no don't do this, do that. Never mind, don't do that either. Just listen to my podcast, then watch my live video and then follow me on Instagram, pin this story and next week I'll tell you what to do next so you can get fast results."
Yes, I know I am exaggerating a bit, but you get the point.
So what is the moral of this story?
Social media is not a one night stand. Social media requires a long-term commitment.
You can't build a blog, launch a Facebook profile, post beautiful photos on your Instagram page and call it a day.
Don't call it quits before you get started
Too many business owners and marketers are calling it quits before they even get going.
They launch the blog, they invest in the brand, they optimize their LinkedIn company profiles and setup their primary social channels on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Maybe they even work with a 3rd party agency to produce some solid videos with content that helps their customers solve their greatest problem.
However, here's the problem - they "launch" and then they give up. They give up because they don't have the ROI they made up in their mind they should have by now.
This is equivalent to going to the gym and working out for 2 hours to lose weight and being upset that you didn't lose the weight in 2 hours.
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 do you achieve success with social media over the long term?
So, what do you need to do for success?
In a nutshell here is what you have to do:
- 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 your presence - And do so on the social networks that your target customers are using, the ones that'll provide you with the highest return - and most importantly serve the needs of your audience
- Tweak, rinse repeat and optimize
In addition, you need the right mindset. This includes...
- 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. Hint: Your audience must be hanging out on the chosen channels.
- 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 things you're doing and investing in today, so you can prioritize the right things tomorrow.
- Learn to say no to the wrong things so you can say yes to the right things.
- Stop worrying what everyone else is doing and start focusing on the needs of your customer and your online community.
- Realize success is not going to be delivered by Amazon in a brown box with a silver platter inside. You'll need to work hard for every like, view, pin, share and snap. Get used to it.
- 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, content marketing strategies, and the list goes on.
- 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.
What have your results been utilizing social media to date? How have you achieved success? What frustrations are you or have you experienced?
This post originally appeared on Pam Moore's blog