The Social Balance Between Real-Time vs. Long-Term

Given social media is a fast-moving, real-time medium, many brands have a short time horizon when it comes to planning.

In an ever-evolving marketplace, planning ahead one or two months could be seen as “long-term” – something that is reflected in many editorial calendars.

The reality, however, is that two months is a relatively short period of time. While a brand may have a plan in place to support its marketing and sales activities, the two months is over before you know it. Then what?

It means brands need to think long-term as being six to 12 months – something highlighted in a recent blog post by KissMetrics. It’s about having a vision about what you want to do with social media over the horizon, where you want it to take you, and the goals to be attained.

In other words, it’s not just about short-term successes like a video that mysteriously goes viral.

For most brands, long-term planning is a core component of how they do business, so why should social media be any different.

When you think about it, many social media objectives are long-term in nature – things such as brand awareness, customer service, lead generation and community build. None of these goals happen overnight. Instead, they are created and nurtured over time.

For brands to commit themselves to social media and recognize it takes time to make things happen, a long-term plan is important and, frankly, it just makes sense.

To create a long-term plan, here are a few tips:

1. Establish goals that reflect where your business is going strategically and tactically.

2. If quantity – followers, Likes, etc. – are part of the metrics mix, recognize social media is a game of inches rather than miles. In other words, it takes time to build a large community, particularly a large, engaged community.

3. Be patient. Don’t look for or expect overnight success, otherwise you’ll be disappointed.

4. Monitor and track your progress on a regular basis to make sure the benchmarks along the way are being met. If not, be prepared to tweak or change your approach to reach your long-term goals.

5. Be consistent, constant and accessible. Make it clear to your community and the people you want to attract that you’re in it for the long haul as opposed to simply being social to drive short-term campaigns.

What do you think? How can brands take a long-term approach to social media?

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