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You are ready for social media. You have staff, tools and resources. You have a clear strategy, well-defined goals and an execution plan. You have executive support.
But how long will it last? How long will you have the resources and support you need?
Your social media program needs time. The old-fashioned time that is measured on a calendar, not in staff hours. It needs months, quarters or even years.
At today’s pace of business, time is a luxury few business initiatives are afforded.
With daily reporting, weekly results reviews and quarterly budget evaluations, long-term planning is increasingly challenging. Committing a meaningful investment of time, money and attention over multiple quarters for what is still a trial is nearly impossible for most businesses.
Without immediately visible results, support slowly dries up, yet each of the elements below starts slowly and improves over time.
Developing an Audience
An audience is not the number of friends, fans and followers. It is the people consistently paying attention to you, and that isn’t a status you can quickly secure.
A great conversation, blog post, research piece or case study may momentarily get the attention of your target audience, but you must consistently engage, create or curate to keep their attention. This takes old-fashioned calendar time.
Your social media plan likely calls for creating some type of content daily (hopefully), and definitely weekly. When you start, you probably have 20 or 30 pieces of content. At the end of a year, that has likely grown to 250 or 300, plus your tweets, Facebook posts, Pinterest images and more.
Nearly every piece of content is another opportunity for someone to find you. With content fueling inbound marketing, the content you create can drive results for years.
Engaging with People
As Jay Baer (@jaybaer) says, social media is about winning hearts and minds one and two at a time. Yes, you really can win a few today and a few more tomorrow. But winning enough to make a meaningful difference in your business takes old-fashioned time. It is measured in months, not in hours.
Does your social media plan have the time it needs to be successful? Or is your plan a pilot without a real commitment that will last over time?
How do you give social media programs the time they need? Do you start with a small commitment, prove the results with skunkworks initiatives or kickstart your program with social advertising and broader marketing programs?
Share your view in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).