Budget cuts, different marketing strategies, mergers, the list goes on: During the years I’ve worked in social media, I’ve heard some pretty good reasons for why companies might choose to no longer invest in social media. (Like, if the company is going bankrupt. I’ll give you that one.)
However, I’d also like to reference a concept by one of my favorite marketing authors, Seth Godin, called “The Dip.” (I’ve written a longer post about The Dip here.) “The Dip” is the moment for people and businesses after the initial heyday of beginning, the glory of starting a new venture, when things get tough. In the midst of “the Dip,” it’s not as easy to post something on Facebook and reach millions of people, or garner shares or attention or whatever your goals are. Godin says that “the Dip” is inevitable for any and all projects worth doing, but the people who make it to the top are those who stick it out: “Most competitors quit long before they’ve created something that makes it to the top.”
Godin also notes, “To be a superstar, you must do something exceptional. Not just survive the Dip, but use the Dip as an opportunity to create something so extraordinary that people can’t help but talk about it, recommend it, and yes, choose it.”
In other words, social media accounts with millions of views aren’t that popular because they’ve always been that popular. They’re still there because they stuck it out, they lasted through the Dip, they kept putting time and energy into a project that was worthwhile, and it paid off.
Maybe I’ll write another post one day about when you can give up on social media marketing, but today, I’d like to talk about how you know when you shouldn’t give up.
When you’re the only one in your niche. Do you write a blog with content that doesn’t exist anywhere else on the Internet? Do you synthesize information on a given topic that can only be found on your blog or social media channel? If this is so, I urge you to continue putting resources into this asset. If you’re the only voice talking about something in a specific way, people will listen and you will grow. I can’t guarantee the pace of this, because that’s not how the Internet works. However, I can guarantee that the work you are doing is important and appreciated, and your social media will eventually garner the returns you want.
When you’re growing. If your engagement, views, likes, or shares are increasing, keep going. Again, if you haven’t gone viral in two years, that does not mean you won’t and it doesn’t mean you should give up. (Going viral shouldn’t be a goal in itself, either.) You’re only getting one new like a week, and you don’t think it’s worth it? What if that “like” tells their friend about your company, and wins you $100,000 in new business? The numbers game is a tough one to play, so discounting growth, no matter how small, is a mistake.
When the people working on your social media care about it. If you ever get the feeling that the people working on your social media couldn’t care less about it, get out of there. Godin would say that you want to find a team that digs into a challenge, rather than one that accepts mediocrity. However, if you have a team that’s committed, a writer who cares, a social media manager who desperately wants your brand to succeed as if it’s their own, you will know that a genuine sense of responsibility can truly make a difference. Cookie-cutter branding? Nah. Blog posts written and shaped and researched daily? Yep. Find a team that wants to provide good content for you, and stick with them.
Like I said, when to give up is a post for another day. However, I really believe in the truth of pushing through those times when you’re not sure if your social media will succeed, or even if your business will succeed. People who win, who grow their brand, who become extraordinary, aren’t there because they gave up.
Image credit: CC by Magicatwork