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Be Patient! Social Media Takes Time.

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It’s no surprise that social media is becoming seen as the cure-all drug for businesses. It offers an avenue to get to know them, build relationships, offer AWESOME customer service, and yes – sell. And let’s be honest, that’s what most folks are interested in social media for anyway.

But the deal is, social media is NOT an overnight fix, does not become successful easily, and takes TRUE dedication.

Something I continually see in my conversations with clients and prospects is this obsession with ROI, the eternal question of: What’s in it for me? And that’s okay, every wise business owner should be asking the same question, but my question to them is:

What kind of dedication are you willing to give to gain the results you want?

I’m a big fan of Gary Vaynerchuk. I can’t always handle his intensity or his cussing, but his business philosophies are ON POINT, and his customer service methods are second to none. And something Gary continually preaches is that to be successful, we must be patient, we must fully commit.

And I wish that more business owners could apply this point of view to social media marketing instead of seeing it as just something they’ve got to do for a little while.

In this article, I’m going to discuss WHY being successful with social media takes time from real life and marketing prospectives.  I believe that understanding social media is the first step, and if we aren’t actively educating our clients and prospects, then their expectations will never be met.

1. Real relationships take time.

Think about it – how long did it take you to befriend your newest friend? And I don’t mean the person you casually hang out with or work with, I’m talking about the person you trust and share private information with.

Probably took some time, right? Maybe even a lot of time. Maybe you didn’t even like each other at first, but once you began talking, there was a synergy, a connection. You shared interests and life stories, and before you knew it – it was like you’d found a piece of yourself.

Now imagine if all of that took place online – in an environment where you couldn’t read their facial expressions or had to get to know their humor through words and emojis. Would have probably taken longer, right?

That’s relationship-building on social media, and it’s something we work towards everyday for our clients.

Building relationships takes a lot of time, effort, and commitment.

Our job as marketers is to locate people who are a good fit to connect with a product or service. Maybe they have the same interests (coffee, wine, exercise, reading, etc.), the same personality (outgoing, witty, thoughtful, etc) or have connections with those personalities and interests.

Once we identify those people, we begin down a road towards developing a relationship. We say hi, introduce ourselves, thank them for being a part of our social community, share their content, comment on things they do or say, laugh about everyday nuances or commiserate over issues.  We don’t sell or preach directly in this process, we answer questions they have, add value to their lives, and establish credibility by showing up consistently.

Then one day, they ask us to tell them more about our product or when a friend of theirs has a problem we can help with, they recommend us because we’re at the top of their mind, and have been putting in the work.

All of this takes time. We can’t be pushy, we must be thoughtful and respectful because that’s how relationships are built. And it’s best to keep in mind from the beginning, that we will have to work HARDER for those relationships because of the environment in which we’re communicating.

But before you go off thinking this sounds all gooey and lovely, but hey – you’ve got to make money – understand that we NEVER hide the fact that we’re selling something.

There’s no reason to apologize for wanting to make money or build your business – it’s just how one goes about it. And in the social media world, being pushy only gets you pushed OUT.

We’re dealing with humans, not numbers – so relationships take time, commitment, and consistency.

2. Adding value takes time.

I’m sure you’ve heard this “give value” phrase like a MILLION times in relation to social media, but do you know what it means?

What adds value to your life? Are you a person of learning, growing, laughing, or connecting? What makes you walk away from a conversation feeling excited, renewed or like you’ve had an epiphany?

Value, of some kind.

Our definitions of value change depending upon all the variables that make up who we are as people, as individuals. And those values are what attract us to certain decisions, products, services, people, life paths, and jobs in life. They make us feel at home, understood, and accepted. And they make us fiercely loyal.

The job of social media marketers is to get to know what values are going to speak to the audience we will inevitably sell to. Because we’re all different, one value may bounce of a certain type versus grab the attention and love of another. We’ve got to figure that out. And again, because we’re dealing with humans – that’s NO simple task.

And then once we’ve figured out the values of a particular target audience and discovered what speaks to them – we have to share a lot of that content, and on a consistent basis. We have to continually make sure that our quotes or articles or videos are speaking directly to the core values of what they believe, need, and love.

Sounds complicated, right? Yea… Content creation is a whole different subject, but the effort put into curating and creating content must always take the audiences value into account or it will fall to deaf ears.

When we strive to add value to the lives of those we interact with online, it strengthens our relationships, it adds levels to what we can ask of them or how we interact. It matures relationships.

We must post with purpose, always.

3. Loyalty takes time.

At first, I wanted to caption this section, “Selling takes time,” but I’m jumping in too quick.

Let’s consider the brand Target. Everyday droves of people scramble to this establishment to pick up the latest fashion, electronics or toys. But before Target made itself worthy of all those people, it built a loyal customer base by developing relationships (they knew what people wanted) and adding value (quality merchandise). This base spread the word and before we knew it, Target was a household name.

Loyalty premeditates selling in the business world. It’s the pot of gold, the fountain of youth – the eternal goal. And when we begin achieving loyalty, business is soooo sweet.

Why? Because we get to work less to convince people we’re worth their loyalty, and get to focus more on serving, interacting, and enjoying. We get to do the fun stuff!

Going back to relationships for a moment, isn’t it nice when our relationships reach the point of loyalty? When we can be ourselves and feel accepted? When romantic courtships turn from dating to exclusive? When an acquaintance becomes the person you would do anything for?

Heck, yes! Loyalty is a huge emotion, and it’s one we actively chase in marketing. When we can grow loyalty among the people in our online communities, then we have folks waiting in expectation to hear from us, to share our content or promotions, and to tell the world how fantastic we are.

But to gain loyalty, we have to build a relationship and offer value. Loyalty doesn’t just appear, and sometimes it’s easier than others, but true loyalty takes hard work, commitment, and patience.

4. Consistency

There’s no way I could write an article about how much time it takes to be successful with social media without talking about consistency, because as I’ve said before, without consistency, NONE of this matters.

The hardest part of my job isn’t getting new clients, building social communities for clients, or the everyday tasks executed for clients – it’s getting my clients to understand that social media REQUIRES consistent effort, and that takes time.

At ARCH Digital Agency, we don’t sign clients without a 6-month commitment for two reasons: 1) We can’t guarantee consistent results before that time period, and 2) Clients need to understand that social media isn’t a short term fix or an overnight solution. It REQUIRES the client to make a commitment and be a participating part of the relationship.

And sometimes it takes longer than six months to begin seeing consistent results, depending on the industry. Certainly industries are a lot harder to work with than others, especially those that don’t naturally generate a lot of visual content. It’s harder to humanize brands that rest on their logos, that sell products or services that aren’t considered ‘sexy,’ and don’t spend much time interacting with their customers.

But that doesn’t mean social media isn’t for these businesses or isn’t a viable channel for their marketing. Typically these industries are more focused on generating numbers, which is short-sighted when it comes to social media because they aren’t taking into account the relationships being built, the fact their brand name is being spread across the Internet to people who’ve never heard of them, and that social media isn’t straightforward.

For example, think of a billboard you pass on the road or a TV commercial featuring some mouth-watering hamburger or pizza or pasta. It probably doesn’t make you rush out the door to go get it. But maybe you see the billboard/commercial a few more times, maybe a friend mentions it and you recognize it, and then when you’re absolutely starving and can’t think of where to go, BAM, that billboard/commercial pops in your mind.

That’s one way that social media works, too. But it doesn’t work if you aren’t consistently investing in it or if you decide it’s too tough to keep it up.

Businesses who are struggling with social media need to stick with it, make a true commitment and hunker down for the long ride, just like the rest of us. It’s infinitely easier to sell a $10 t-shirt than a $750/monthly service because of the effort we have to put into developing relationships, adding value, establishing trust and loyalty, AND being consistent.

If you’re stuck and down on social media, stop thinking of it as some kind of marketing channel you want to win over. Change your point of view, consider what it takes for brands to win YOU over on social media, and then replace that with the people you’re trying to reach.

If we don’t understand our prospect’s point of view, respect what it will take to build a relationship, and understand that loyalty doesn’t happen overnight, we will never win. Because inevitably, it’s not about us, it’s about them. And without them, we are NOTHING.

Social media success takes time, and if it was just some fad or trend, we wouldn’t see SO many having success with it. MAKE the commitment to social media, commit yourself to developing relationships, adding value, growing loyalty, and being consistent. I can guarantee you’ll be successful if you have the patience to ride it out.

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