I have been training for the Long Beach Half Marathon, so I decided to enter an obstacle race on the beach. It sounded fun to run on the beach, it was only a 5K race so I thought no problem. I regularly go 4 to 5 miles on hills and this was flat, and a few obstacles …How hard could this be? Well let me tell you, there is a big difference between jogging on loose sand that moves from under your feet the minute you step on it, compared to a nice hard surface that stays put as you jog along. Then add to that crawling under nets, moving through bungee cords, running through waves, making your way through giant beach balls, climbing through holes in walls and my favorite jumping over fire, then plunging into an ice cold pool. What could be so hard? Okay, I admit I was crazy to think this would be easy but I really didn't realize how hard it would be till I started running down that beach with my feet slipping on the sand.
As I was struggling to jog in the sand and trying not be the last person in the Beach Palooza Race, it hit me, many people approach social media the way I approached this race. It would be easy to hire a 20 something employee to set up your Facebook & Twitter, make a few posts and consider that all will be well, that you don't need help, and you have it all covered. If you just add some social media to your marketing plan, how hard could it be?
If your fan base doesn't increase, people don't share your posts, and you are not reaching new and old customers, what went wrong? Why does a fan page like Zappos acquire over 168,000 fans and you only 200? How can you keep up with all the updates and changes on Facebook? It feels like running in sand everything is twice as hard as you thought, and once you feel you are on solid ground, things change again!
In training for a half-marathon or a beach race on the sand, it is important that you work with a personal trainer or fitness expert to help you succeed. In marketing look for someone to help you create a strategic social media plan that will increase your brand’s engagement and exceed your customers’ expectations. Figure out what your customer wants and what you can supply to them using social media. Social media is a great way to get MORE customers so make sure your existing customers are happy so they will refer their friends.
Write the plan down, and then make sure the plan is executed. Monitor results weekly, if it is not working change it…social media is a fluid medium and change is good. If things are working stick to it and do more of what works.
Consistency is extremely important. If you post on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, don't skip a week. It takes time to create interest in your fan page, ask questions, conduct polls, and provide valuable content for your customers online.
Keep going and if the going gets rough, seek help. Work with someone who knows and understands the medium and will guide you to create the brand image that you want for your product both in the present and the future. Do not let the ever changing medium of social media become the shifting sand beneath your feet.