Social Media’s Missing Ingredient

[Clock] You Have Time. [Calendar] Do You Have Time?

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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.

Creating Content

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?

Your Turn

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).

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  • Great article. I agree, continuity is a very important factor and often small businesses fail here.

  • carmenhill

    Well, Eric, you know it’s preaching to the choir, but hallelujah! This is such an important point. It’s like diet and exercise. You have to pay attention every day…pretty much forever.

  • Thanks for the plug Eric. I agree completely. We need to stop thinking of social media as some new kind of marketing “campaign” that carries with it short-term results, and instead start thinking of social media as an omnipresent cost (and benefit) of doing business – like having a phone number. 

    Once you start in social media, you cannot stop. Ever. It’s a process, not a project.

    • Jay, thank you for the inspiration!

      You cannot, ever, stop. Yes, that has a whole new set of implications for businesses and how they plan and budget social media. Food for more thought.

  • Social media has been an important part of my relationship marketing for nearly 4years and I make a point of making it “social”. From this I have formed valuable connections and nearly all my leads come from social media, Twitter in particular. I’ve not had formalised campaigns, it’s all been an organic strategy and very much what  Jay Baer says. The investment in time to engage has been well worth it!

    • Great to hear that being social and building relationships over time is paying off for you! We have too many campaigns these days, stories like yours need to get more visibility. Let me know if you are willing to share a bit more about your experience in a future post here!

      • Too many “campaigns” that include lots of automation & creating noise only. ‘Noise’ doesn’t win hearts! I’d be more than happy to share my social media success in a blog post. 🙂

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