Just like health clubs and weight loss centers are overrun with new recruits each January, social platforms also get flooded this time of year with brands who have decided that this is the year to “get social.”
Because, come March, many of those same health clubs and weight loss centers will see a sizable drop in members and the web will be littered with thousands of abandoned social accounts from over-eager brands.
We don’t want you to join them.
If you want to make sure the new social initiative you are launching has staying power, remember these words of wisdom…
Social media is a marathon, not a sprint.
Here’s how you can cross the finish line:
While companies love to make announcements when starting new ventures, consider skipping that step when you’re starting out with social media.
- Don’t announce that you have a blog when there is only one lonely post in it (Or, heaven forbid, none.)
- Don’t stick up a sign in your store saying you’re on Facebook if no one on your staff is monitoring the Fan Page yet.
- Don’t start following hundreds of people on Twitter if you haven’t tweeted anything yet.
(These may seem like no brainers, but you’d be surprised how many companies make these mistakes.)
Start slowly, grow organically, learn from your mistakes and — when it feels like things are rockin and you look awesome — THEN make a announcement to your stakeholders.
Listen before you speak.
The social party has been in full swing for a few years now and you’re walking in late. Engage accordingly.
Before you start making sales pitches in your new social platforms, case the joint, hang out, listen to the conversations in progress and figure out where you fit in, first.
This kind of active listening doesn’t make you passive and meek. It makes you wise and strategic.
And when you do start talking, be “pro-actively reactive.” Share your insights, give advice, jump into conversation and establish that your brand is an all around solid addition to the community, worthy of everyone’s attention.
Avoid flooding the feed.
The number one mistake that excited companies make when they start social media is to quickly fill up their new account with content…
- They tweet 15 things in a row in their new Twitter account.
- They pin nine versions of their brand’s logo on their new “About us!” board on Pinterest.
- They comment on every single thing an influential person says on Facebook in hopes of wooing them. (There is a fine line between “wooing” and “stalking.”)
From the outside, all of that activity adds up to a whole lot of spammy noise in the social feed, turning their introduction against them before they’ve even said a word.
Again, it’s a marathon, here. So, set a slow but steady pace for engagement and content. Plant your seeds a little bit, every day, for days and then weeks.
Commit to the process.
Yes, you have business objectives your company needs to meet. And yes, social media is going to help you meet those goals. But that’s not going to happen on day one.
You will get out of social media what you put into it. (Just like you will get the most from that new gym membership if you actually drive to the gym a few times a week to work out…and then do that for many, many weeks in a row.)
Do the homework, make a plan, stay consistent, keep at it and measure your progress along the way. You will get there. Just maybe not today.
Slow and steady may not always look glamorous. But, in social media — and in life — it will win you the race.