When I first started doing freelance work (copywriting mostly), I found it very hard to stay focused and remain patient. I wanted things to happen quickly. It was difficult for me to stay motivated when I didn’t see results. I had a hard time getting myself to do anything, which I knew wouldn’t bring me money any other sort of benefit in the short-term even if I knew it would probably help me later.
What I realize now is that every inch forward is another drop in the bucket. I don’t attempt to do everything all at once. Now, I simply try to move the needle forward, even if only slightly, every single day toward my goals and I’m grateful for every small victory. Pounding away day after day and giving it my all is the metric by which I measure my success. And, every positive outcome that results from my work — a few more views on the blog, a warm piece of feedback, a new lead — is something I celebrate and use as fuel for encouragement. I don’t expect to build my empire in a day. Rather, I work every single day on building my empire. With every brick, I lay the foundation that brings me one step closer to the top.
When it’s all said and done, achieving any of your big, hairy, audacious goals is just the sum total of accomplishing seemingly small actions on a consistent basis. When you zoom in, you can see that the big picture of your life is comprised of smaller pixels of micro progress that enabled you to paint your life’s masterpiece. Every brush stroke counts. Up close it may not look like much, but when you step back, you can behold the fantastic work of art you created.
Your organization wants to start taking social media marketing seriously and utilize this tool to expand the reach of the brand and get more customers.
Now, before you go plunging head-first into tactics, setting up social media accounts, posting random things, and hoping for the best, it’s best to have a plan in place. Developing a strategy, coordinating with various staff and departments, determining your budget, and setting up the logistics of who should do what will save your brand from a lot of headaches and enable you to move more quickly and efficiently once you start.
Hire an expert.
First things first. Hire an expert. Don’t go at it alone and don’t delegate your social media marketing to an intern. Social media is one of the first places prospects and potential customers will look before deciding whether or not to work with you. Why entrust that responsibility to an intern? Outsourcing social media to an intern, your brother in-law or the young receptionist may seem like an attractive solution. It’s cost-effective and they’re young, so they totally get the whole social media thing. However, using social media for fun is not the same as using it to market a business. Mistakes on social media can irritate customers, embarrass the brand, get you into legal trouble, or result in other damaging consequences. If you want to actually get positive results from social media, then you need to take it as seriously as you would any other marketing initiative. This doesn’t mean you can’t involve interns, staff members, or Karen from down the block in your social media, but make sure they are working under an experienced social media manager. Your social media expert can be an outside consultancy or someone you hire to be in-house. Just make sure you hire someone who knows what they’re doing.
Set up an in-house team.
Regardless of whether you hire an outside consultancy or marketing firm, you will still need to involve in-house staff members who have their boots on the ground and work within your business every day. Social media marketing
Social media marketing is most effective when it is aligned with the rest of the organization. Customers often use social media to ask questions or complain and they expect a speedy response. Therefore, make sure your marketing team and customer service departments are in communication, ready to answer queries and interact with customers on social media. If you have any special offers on social media, make sure other members of your staff know about it in case a customer brings it up. If there is little communication between the social media marketing team and the rest of your company, customers will sense you don’t have your act together, grow frustrated, and seek out the competition. Determine which of your staff will be involved in social media and what their roles will be e.g. posting, taking photos, filming, being in front of the camera, being in communication with an outside consultant or marketing firm, designing images etc. Finally, determine your marketing budget and how much of it will be allocated to social media.
Run things by the legal department.
While smaller organizations and scrappy startups are not as weighed down and burdened with having to run everything by a legal department, it’s a good idea to check in with legal counsel about what things you can and cannot do or disclose on social media. As tedious as this step may sound, come up with a short list or guide that spells out the ground rules. This could potentially save your brand from legal nightmares or law suits down the line.
This last step is the most important. Don’t overthink or get bogged down and crippled, wondering what you should post on social media. Social media is most effective when you’re authentic, helpful, and providing value. It’s the channel where you can show the human side of your business and make genuine connections with potential customers, current customers, investors, and employees so don’t get hung up on minor details like the lighting and the video quality. Don’t be afraid to test things out and see what works. Don’t be too scared to experiment. Too many brands wait until everything is perfect. They ponder and strategize endlessly to the point where they never end up getting anything done. Hesitating and being overly perfectionist will prevent you from taking action and getting started. Once you have the above considerations in place, get to work and start executing. As the old Nike slogan says: Just do it.
No one ever achieved big things without working their ass off and going out and getting it. Every successful person I know has had to work hard. Even people who raise boatloads of cash or enjoy family connections will not be profitable without grinding day in and day out. Sure, there are people who win the lotto or were handed a lucrative venture, but you and I can’t point to anyone who earned lasting success by not giving it their all. There are many gurus and coaches on the Internet selling mastermind courses these days with “get rich quick” schemes who claim they have a hack for getting successful without all the work. Some of their suggestions may turn a profit for a short time, but will not bring lasting wealth. There really are no shortcuts to success. There is no simple formula, growth hack, or automated process that will enable you to win long-term.
I’m currently in the process of building a digital marketing agency as well as my own online presence and personal brand. Having interviewed many successful people for my Huffington Post column and studied many people who built a business, personal brand, or an online presence, the common themes I’m seeing and applying to my own life are as follows:
It takes so much patience to achieve any big, hairy, audacious goal. If you love it and it’s worth pursuing, you’ll likely have the fortitude to stick it out when the going gets tough. Oh, and it will get tough. We look at many successful people today as “finished products.” We didn’t see them before they achieved greatness. We don’t see the countless hours of painstaking effort and unglamorous amounts of dedication they put into refining their craft. It doesn’t make for good TV (or whatever medium you use for entertainment these days). There’s always this temptation to try to jump ahead several steps before you’ve made it. And it can be discouraging when you go through a dry-spell. You need to remain humble and continue to do things you may feel you shouldn’t have to still be doing if you want to get to the place where you aspire to be. It’s called paying your dues.
If you’re patient and appreciate every small victory, you’ll have an easier time remaining motivated and persisting toward your goals. Let’s take influencers as an example. Many of them churned out hundreds of blog posts, videos, and podcasts that barely got any reads, views, or listens before they seemingly “popped” out of nowhere. They didn’t get discouraged when no one was paying attention them because they believed in themselves and persisted. The truth is even if you do everything right and you produce quality work or churn out great content frequently and consistently, it will still likely take years of doing it before you break out and become well-known.
This one is so crucial. They say a big part of success is just showing up. I’d like to suggest an addendum to that old adage: A big part of success is just showing up consistently. Even if you’re talented, produce great work, have good ideas, and spend time honing your craft and working toward your goals, you will not go very far if you’re on-again, off-again, hot and cold. This is true for many endeavors in life, but specifically, when it comes to building an online presence, no one wins the market’s attention and becomes known for anything if they don’t consistently put out value. Even if you have one big piece of content that goes viral, you’ll be a one-hit wonder that no one remembers and have no brand recognition unless you consistently follow up and engage your audience. Every drop in the bucket counts. The key is consistently working on your goal and not allowing yourself to get distracted or make excuses.
Sometimes life gets in the way or we see something that looks like it might be more interesting or exciting, but the show must go on. Only by sticking with it, remaining patient when we don’t see results for long periods of time, persisting in the face of obstacles and applying ourselves consistently, will we achieve any of our dreams.
In What to Do When it’s Your Turn (and It’s Always Your Turn) renowned marketing consultant, author, and blogger, Seth Godin urges us to stop waiting around for the higher ups to pick us.
We live in a world where many people are waiting for their defining moment. Their big break. They are an overnight success story that simply hasn’t happened yet. We all know people who are waiting to be discovered. Waiting to be given a raise. Waiting for their boss to give them the corner office. Waiting for the agents, the labels, and the talent scouts to approach them with a lucrative deal. Sadly, like the uncoordinated kid in gym class, many of them are picked last and made to sit on the bench. Most are never even picked at all.
But, waiting your turn was more suited to the previous generation. Back then, we needed the gatekeepers to pick us. The gatekeepers have lost their power. Now, we can choose ourselves. New communications technology, such as smartphones and dramatic behavioral shifts in how we communicate and consume information has given rise to an entire class of individuals who have chosen themselves. The teenage tech entrepreneur. The YouTube star. The Instagram and SnapChat influencers. The stay-at-home mom who starts a 6-figure online business. Or, even the manager, the engineer, or fitness trainer who utilize free publishing platforms, like Twitter, LinkedIn, Medium, and Instagram to build a following and establish credibility that helps them get promotions, higher-paying clients, paid speaking engagements, or raise money for their causes.
There’s no longer any reason to wait in line or cozy up to the bigwigs who had long been the barriers to entry. When mediums of communication and creativity are democratized, the people decide. The opinions of the publishers, creative directors, the editors, the record label executives and TV producers don’t carry as much weight as they used to. One can succeed with no prior experience, family connections, or friends in the industry. Some decry this turn of events and there is certainly a great deal of hand-wringing in many of these industries. But, the floodgates of opportunity have been opened and anyone who is bold enough, talented enough, and hardworking enough will win if they take advantage.
To be sure, this also leaves room for “fake news,” fake influencers, wannabe artists and entrepreneurs, and self-proclaimed gurus or thought leaders to proliferate and crowd the Internet with their noise. Still, the benefits outweigh the negatives, because only the best and most deserving will be heard. In an age when no one waits to receive an invitation and everyone can grab sit at the table, only some will eat their fill. The bar has been raised and one can no longer succeed long-term with output that lacks substance, authenticity, or quality.
So, what are you waiting for? Don’t wait for anyone to pick you. Pick yourself and go do it.
“Isn’t there a way to narrowly target only the people who will buy from me without our content being seen by anybody else?”
This is a question I’ve received several times in my role as a social media marketer.
The answer is no, but it’s interesting to analyze what lies behind the question. Often, the asker simply doesn’t understand how social media works or doesn’t fully appreciate the interconnectedness of the Internet as a whole. More importantly, this question reflects a lack of appreciation for the value of attention. It also reveals a misunderstanding of how marketing and sales work together to drive prospects from brand awareness to purchase.
Now, it’s true that smart marketers aim to target their efforts toward a specific and well-defined audience. This helps them determine their strategy, tone, style, and which channels and tactics to use. Marketing for “everybody” is marketing for nobody.
However, while an overly broad approach is counterproductive, so is an approach that is overly narrow.
Attention is a very precious commodity. With so much competing for our attention spans, it’s more precious than it ever was before. Attention is also extremely valuable. If you don’t have it, you stand little chance of becoming known or found by your target audience. However, if you do have people’s attention, then you can leverage it for greater opportunities.
Many people question the ROI of social media marketing. How does building a following or getting likes, comments, and shares boost my bottom line? And yet, most of those same people completely see the value of appearing on a popular talk show, running a television advertisement during prime time, or appearing in a prestigious or widely read magazine. Social media doesn’t deserve to be judged with an unfair double-standard, especially when it has a unique ability to target effectively and provide data analytics reporting in real time — things traditional channels cannot do.
Getting the exposure, the eyeballs, the attention is the first step. Even the most targeted digital marketing campaign can’t and shouldn’t avoid attention from those who may not buy anything — right now.
Marketing is like a funnel, which can be sifted and segmented from the widest to the most narrow. Awareness sits at the top of the funnel. A small subset of those at the top will become leads and a small subsection of those leads will be nurtured into sales or “conversions.” Depending on the particular campaign, a conversion might mean a monetary sales transaction or it might mean a sign-up or a subscription. Either way, getting attention and establishing a relationship with prospects is the key to garnering more sales as well as loyalty that keeps your clients or customers coming back for more. Attention can also lead to other good things, like a job offer, a book deal, a speaking engagement, and more.
The way you get attention is by providing value. This could be accomplished by sharing content that educates, entertains, or empowers your audience. By providing value through your content, you earn your audience’s attention and give them a reason to care. Too many people undervalue or underestimate positive attention because it’s part of long-term branding rather than short-term sales. Therefore, it’s super important to be able to maintain perspective and put every part of your marketing strategy in its appropriate place. Knowing where everything belongs will also help you contextualize and personalize your content for your audience throughout each stage of the sales funnel or buyer’s journey.
Before you can get your audience to buy anything, you need to have their attention. Word of mouth — friends telling friends — is often the best way. Most people tend to value the recommendations of trusted experts, friends, or family than they do an advertisement from a company. Social media marketing allows you to further amplify and leverage word of mouth to get the attention you need like never before. Take advantage and utilize this technology to the fullest.
“Most of the people that I’m getting attention from on Facebook are all the people I am not so interested in sharing that part of my life with.”
When I explained to her that it’s impossible to ONLY reach the people whom she wants to buy her service without also attracting the attention of others, she replied with a text that revealed what was truly worrying her:
“It’s just weird when I walk down the street and ppl are like u started a business?? If it doesn’t work out I would die of embarrassment.”
So often, what really holds us back is a fear of failure or, more truthfully, a fear of what other people will think or say if we fail.
But, as I explained to her, what will happen will happen regardless of whether people know about it or not. And, if you want to get on the radar screens (or mobile, tablet, or desktop screens) of your target audience, there’s no way you will be able to escape also getting attention from people who know you or people you don’t necessarily want to know about your business venture. Today, it’s impossible to hide if you want to make an impact and attract any sort of attention.
And, if they judge, so what? Most people who judge or poke fun are people who are jealous, insecure, or too cowardly to do something themselves. Most people lack the courage and conviction to try.
Let your metric for success be: Putting yourself out there and making the attempt.
That’s already so much more than what others will do. A huge part of sucess is just showing up — and showing up day in and day out, again and again. Persistence and perseverance is a common thread that weaves together between most success stories. And a great number attempts — even failed ones — will increase your likelihood of doing something that actually succeeds. As Seth Godin says, “the one who fails the most, wins.”
Don’t allow your fear of failure or the negative comments of the naysayers get in your way of trying your damnest to make your dreams a reality! If it doesn’t work, you can always learn from it and try something new. But, don’t waste your time worrying about the thoughts of others, many of whom are simply not brave enough to do what you are doing.