While out for my daily jog yesterday -- lungs heaving and feet throbbing, I wondered why my morning workout routine wasn't getting any easier. You see, I started my new running regimen a full four days ago; so, it stands to reason that by now, after four exhausting 5Ks (well, let's say three 5Ks and an anemic 2.5K), I surely would have mastered the 3.1-mile journey with great ease. And yet, clearly, this is not the case. My question is: After almost 18 kilometers of solid running experience over the last four days under my belt, why, oh why do I not feel like an Olympic marathon athlete?
I, like many people I know, have fallen victim to the high-expectation, low-patience mindset that has seemingly overwhelmed our culture.
This instant gratification mentality is certainly the pervasive attitude of many entrepreneurs as they dive into social media marketing. When, after a couple of weeks of sporadic tweeting, random Facebook shares, and an occasional Google+ post fails to catapult them into the next tax bracket, they're often left feeling bewildered, because despite their most Herculean efforts, they inexplicably have not been able to garner more than a few likes, retweets, and followers.
The inevitable conclusion: Social media does not work.
- I tried Google+. Nothing happened.
- I tweeted like mad last week. Why didn't my sales double?
- I changed my profile picture on LinkedIn and I'm still unemployed. What gives?
What gives? This is what gives:
The one ingredient that keeps people from reaching their social media goals is the same ingredient missing in most fitness plans: consistency.
Social Media is not a short-term tactic; it is not a quick-fix method you can employ to drive instant sales; and it definitely is not something that "works" when it is dabbled with inconsistently. For social media to be effective for you and your business, you need to change your mindset. Simply put: Social media is a lifestyle.
Are you ready to commit and embrace the culture of social media? If so, you must incorporate it into your daily routine. Replace randomness with strategy, chaos with predictability, and haphazardness with consistency.
Here are the areas where you want to be consistent:
- Frequency: How often do you post? Once a day, eight times a day, three times a week? The exact numbers are not as important as regularity. While greater frequency usually leads to more engagement and larger communities, consistency is what establishes reliability and trust among your following. Create a schedule and stick to it.
- Branding: Make sure everything you post is in harmony with how you want to be perceived. Your social media content needs to align with the core personality and tone of your brand. When you publish posts that contradict your brand, you confuse your audience, and you may need to rebuild trust from scratch.
- Message: Align your social media content with your current messaging and campaigns. When your inbound and traditional marketing strategies match, you inspire confidence among your clients and prospects.
- Engagement: How consistently do you connect? Do you respond to questions in a reliable fashion? Do you thank people whenever they share your information? Social media is a two-way vehicle; it is not merely a platform for you to broadcast your message relentlessly. A social media account that ignores others cannot thrive.
- Across Platforms: All of your social media accounts need to have the same photos, logos, and descriptions. Consistent information across all channels promotes a positive brand experience and fosters trust.
Remember: The greatest factor determining your success in social media is how well you are able to maintain consistency in your efforts.
Sporadic and unpredictable social networking erodes faith. Your followers and connections worry about your reliability -- even if it is on a subconscious level. Commit to consistency and you'll create a solid presence, earn trust, and begin enjoying a meaningful return on your commitment.
Well, off I go to attack today's 5K. Perhaps I will give it a few more days (weeks?) before I hope to change dress sizes.