On the Value of Consistency in Building a Social Media Presence
Alarm's set for 6:00 am. That'll give me five minutes to snooze, ten to get dressed, and then at least 40 minutes of gym time before I need to hop in the shower and leave for work.
I tell myself this plan at night before bed quite often. I remind myself that lots of humans do this every morning. And yet deep down, I know it's probably a fantasy. Because when 6 a.m. rolls around the next morning, this is what will happen:
Alarm? Is that you? Already? No. No. That can't be right. I'm still so tired. Sleep is important. I'll be more productive today if I feel more rested. I'll go to the gym later*. It's not like this one workout will make or break anything.
*Odds of this happening are 20:1.
So... what's wrong with me?
It's never been the "work" part of working out that's been challenging for me. Once my sneakers are on, I'll run hard. I'll push myself. My issue is that, aside from the initial endorphin rush, it takes a long time to see any ROI from exercising - and I'm an impatient person. You don't get faster, stronger or leaner overnight. You have to show up, over and over and over again. One workout does make or break you, because achieving your gym goals is the sum of all of those pesky individual workouts.
And what, exactly, does this have to do with social media?
Actually, a lot. You can read social media tips up the wazoo, but when it comes to building an effective strategy for your brand, one of the most important things you can do is engage on Twitter consistently. Daily. It may seem futile to spend 10 minutes scrolling through your feed and replying to an influencer's tweet only to get a "like" in return, but if you spend time doing this every single day, you'll begin to create a much richer, more social experience for your brand. But it takes time. And patience.
Just like a gym locker room, Twitter is full of "regulars" who seem to cyber-nod at one another and have their own special ways of communicating. You can be a part of that locker room. But, doing so means that instead of checking out a Twitter chat once, you go back every single week. Instead of a one-off reply to a reporter or prospect, you make it a point to engage with her tweets regularly. Particularly if you're a company executive, it means sharing compelling content multiple times daily, not relying on a tweet-when-I-feel-like-it approach. Over time, these actions add up to wider reach, heightened awareness, stronger relationships and increased authority.
Create structures to ensure consistency
Consistency is great in theory, but how do you manage it in reality? You start with structure and process. That's why I've blown a good percentage of my life savings on personal trainers, ClassPass subscriptions and the occasional race. These things give me accountability. They are in my calendar. There are clear consequences involved: if I do not go to my Zumba class, I will lose $20; if I do not train this weekend, I will not be able to finish the 10K and my fiancé's parents will be there and that will be embarrassing.
The same approach applies to Twitter. If the plan for yourself or your company is, "Sure, I'll tweet more," it's probably not going to end very well. You need clear instructions for yourself about what, specifically, needs to happen every single day - things like "engage with a tweet from a customer" or "share an interesting article about management." You need to have your social setup in place - columns in TweetDeck, for example - to make it easy to complete your daily Twitter workouts. And you may even find it helpful to block social time in your calendar and hold yourself accountable.
Remember: social media engagement is a slow game, but with a consistent, daily effort, the results will come.
Now if I could only remember that the next time my 6 a.m. alarm goes off...
Follow Ellen Miller on Twitter