Why Social Media is Like Going to Gym

Social media is sexy and glamorous but the reality is it involves a lot of hard work behind the scenes.

There’s the creation of content such as Facebook and Twitter updates, blog posts, videos and photos, as well as engaging with other people on social media, and monitoring social media activity.

This “blocking and tackling” doesn’t get a lot of love or attention but it supports and fuels social media activity, including campaigns that capture the spotlight.

In other words, behind every successful campaign is a team of hard-working social media soliders.

These efforts are often overlooked by companies exploring the idea of using social media. Even companies that have moved into social media sometimes lose sight of the importance of having people who drive their campaigns and day-to-day activities.

Here’s how social media is like going to the gym:

1. You have to work out on a regular basis. Just like working out for a week and then deciding not to exercise for two weeks is a recipe for failure, companies need to work on their social media efforts pretty much every day (although weekends tend to be slower).

2. Success can take time. Just like you can’t get into great shape overnight, it also takes time for companies to see the fruits of their social media labours. I often tell companies to give themselves three to six months before deciding whether social media is working or not.

3. Doing a variety of activities keeps things interesting. If you do the same kind of exercise all the time, it eventually gets boring, and the benefits start to decline as your body gets accustomed to it. In the same way, social media thrives when there’s a variety of activity – photos, videos, blog posts, etc. – and topics covered.

4. Be careful not to over-train. Working out too much can lead to injuries and fatigue; while generating too much social media content can burn out employees and, as important, cause readers, followers and friends to feel overwhelmed.

5. When starting, it helps to have a personal trainer. There are social media courses but it’s really something you learn through trial and error, as well as watching what other people do. When getting into social media, it does help to have a trainer or coach provide some guidance and tips about best practices.

6. Celebrate your successes and learn from your setbacks. While it’s important to put the spotlight on the good things such as winning races or reaching personal goals, it is also helpful to get insight when the expected results don’t happen.

Sometimes, social media works such as having a blog post that attract a lot of traffic or having a tweet retweeted a lot. At the same time, social media efforts fail to resonate or attract much attention. The key is figuring out what happened to see how things can be improved.

8 Comments on “Why Social Media is Like Going to Gym”

  1. Absolutely spot on post my friends, thank you for this. Being a life long fan of fitness and bodybuilding I can see the truth in everything that was said. I especially like the part about over training, you can send too many tweets and create to many blog posts that dilute your message points. It’s best to focus on quality and being sincere aka compound movements with good form and a lot of rest. 😉

  2. Hi Mark, I couldn’t agree more. Becoming fit, strong and confident in social media takes true dedication and a lot of hard work. Inexperienced runners can’t just throw on a pair of cross-trainers and head for the Boston Marathon, and folks in PR, marketing and communications can’t just sign up for a Twitter account and consider themselves ‘social media fit’. You need to work social media into your daily routine; understand the rules, the competitive landscape, and as you say, give yourself time to see real results. (In the spirit of disclosure, I am the Director of Marketing at Marketwire, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t invite folks to check our Social Media Fitness Program: sm10x30.com)

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