Social Media is a Game of Inches, Not Miles

One of the biggest misconceptions of social media is that success can happen overnight. By launching some social media services and being engaged, the world will soon be beating a path to your door.

This perception has been propagated by how some companies such as Naked Pizza, Starbucks, Dell and Comcast have been hailed for how well they have done using social media as a marketing and sales tool.

While these successes are important to social media’s evolution and growth, they are anomalies rather than common occurrences. In many ways, these companies have been lucky to hit the social media jackpot.

For the vast majority of companies using social media, a key consideration is social media success is a game of inches rather than miles. It’s a process that can take months of diligent and constant effort.

At times, it can seem that little progress is being made but part of establishing a strong and sustainable social presence is recognizing that social media success is a “slowly but surely” exercise.

This reality, however, is difficult for many people to understand because we live in a world of instant gratification and multi-tasking. As a result, we want things to quickly happen as opposed to having to consistently focus at the task at hand.

For anyone and any company unable to appreciate and accept that social media success rarely happens overnight, they risk being disappointed and discouraged.

In many respects, think of social media in the context of the Tortoise vs. the Hare fable in which the hare races ahead only to see the steadily moving tortoise end up winning at the end of the day.

While it’s not sexy to be tortoise, there’s a lot to be learned from a slow but steady approach to social media.

One Comment on “Social Media is a Game of Inches, Not Miles”

  1. Amen. While we’re (NakedPizza) flattered for the mention in such elite company (Wow, we only have 1 store, with about 300 in development), in truth, our overnight success isn’t. We spent four years perfecting a business model that aligned a deep mission with the business case for investment including thorough consideration for our communications and digital platform (from day 1). While we didn’t fully launch into social media until 2009 it was a fairly classic case of opportunity meeting preparation. Yes, we did some things that attracted attention, but mostly – and what we can more accurately be attributed to any success we’ve had overnight and otherwise- is that we offered people something worth talking about. Utility and delight. Intelligent and sustainability. Reciprocity.

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