A really fantastic article from social media consultant and Entrepreneur contributor Ann Tran was published today about the pitfalls of believing that there are shortcuts to success in social media. Her frustration is rooted in the consistent question from other entrepreneurs about how to “pick her brain” on social media for some quick tricks and tips to have a wildly successful digital following.
As Tran puts it, “No, you can’t just “pick my brain” and become a social media expert. We cannot take a shortcut to learning social media, just like you can’t shortcut your way to being an expert in any other job or industry. I can’t tell you everything you need to know in a short conversation.”
Digital media is actually kind of oxymoronic, in a sense. Although the medium is inherently speedy and instant and rapidly changing, that doesn’t mean that you can learn how to use it in a day, or that social media doesn’t require time and effort. It’s fast in some ways, but we agree wholeheartedly with Tran that there’s a general misunderstanding about the skill level needed to have truly effective and wonderful results from your social media as a business. You can do lots of things, but not everything–and that’s precisely the sweet spot where opportunities to expand your social media ROI lie.
We at SMC spend a lot of time on social media. And inevitably, there’s someone out there who expects to log onto Facebook and have a viral video or million-person following within the week! You have to earn your followers, and provide valuable content to gain trust and establish a brand before any sort of virality will boost your traffic. Social media isn’t a cure-all and won’t immediately turn around your bottom line or profits. As with most marketing techniques, consistency is key. As Tran says, practice makes perfect! It’s okay to post things that don’t always work or knock reach out of the park. You’ll know what works better next time.
Finally, just ask! Have metrics established to know when your strategy is working, and when it isn’t. If you find yourself being patient for years on end, there’s probably something you could be doing better, so be open to those ideas! Ask your customers and get feedback from your followers through surveys or questions, even if it’s negative. Social media has a learning curve, and who better to tell you what they want than the very people you’re hoping to reach? FromForbes: “Ask open-ended questions as part of your campaign, truly welcome feedback, and never drop the ball.”
Take your time and enjoy the process of marketing your brand or attracting new talent through social media. The world really is your oyster, and creativity is limitless in this exciting field.
Questions? Need help marketing your brand to the fullest (patiently, of course?) Give us a call or leave a comment anytime—we’d love to help figure out what works for you.