Digital marketing is a lot like going to the gym – the most important thing is consistency.
No matter your gym routine, the single most important success factor is simply showing up. You can have the worst workout in the world, but over time, even 30 bad, ugly workouts put you demonstrably ahead of someone who just stayed home.
So how best can you build consistency in your social media marketing efforts?
Choose your inspirational movie motto here:
“Baby steps.” – Bill Murray, What About Bob?
Social Media – One Platform at a Time
With so many social media platforms from which to choose today, it’s tempting to try several at once.
The far more effective strategy is to focus on one at a time for a month or two before slowly trying to expand to other platforms.
But which platform? Even the shortest list includes:
The honest answer?
It doesn’t matter.
Sure – there are correct case-specific answers depending on your audience, whether your content is inherently visual vs. verbal, your time and budget, and more.
But just as with anything else, it’s important to start small, and take (yes) baby steps to avoid burnout.
The easiest way to fail at social media (and, well, most things in life) is to try to do too much at once. Better to master one social media channel than establish a mediocre, ineffective presence on four.
Case Study 1: Matthew McConaughey and YouTube
Matthew McConaughey made headlines this weekend after a user on Reddit discovered that the Emmy- and Academy Award-winning actor’s verified YouTube channel had only 240 followers. (In contrast, his Twitter accounts boasts 2.1 million followers – nearly 9,000x as many!)
Granted – a celebrity of McConaughey’s stature doesn’t need a successful presence on YouTube.
But this perfectly exemplifies how if you don’t focus on building a readership or subscriber base on a platform, you may as well not begin posting to it.
Put another way, don’t really start posting to a platform until you’ve got the time and resources to commit to it.
There is, however, the counter-argument: start building your presence on a channel whenever you wish, because you never know when (or how) it might take off.
For example, due to the increased awareness of McCounaughey’s YouTube channel, as of this (Monday) morning he now boasts more than 72,000 subscribers – crazy growth for just 72 hours.
But even in this case, the brief push of media attention still leaves McConaughey’s YouTube channel lagging far behind expectations for a celebrity of his fame and stature, particularly because he’s a notable film actor who has built his career in the same medium as YouTube itself.
While the actor’s own YouTube channel still lingers below 100,000 subscribers, for instance, the official trailer for his last film, Interstellar, has alone clocked more than 2 million views.
The actor would have been better served by focusing on strategically building his personal YouTube presence rather than simply posting a few videos there sporadically over the last few years.
Case Study 2: My LinkedIn Account
I go in waves when exploring social media channels — becoming enamored with one and attempting to build a presence there for a few months before getting bored and tapering off.
With LinkedIn, I grew my account from 250 connections to more than 850 over nine months a few years ago.
This was particularly useful two years ago, when LinkedIn Pulse was new enough that the chances of having a blog post published there go viral were far far greater than they are today.
At the time, LinkedIn automatically pushed your posts to each of your connections and subscribers as a separate message in their inbox, which boosted views significantly.
It also meant that the more LinkedIn connections you had, the more views and distribution your posts received.
This has no longer true, as LinkedIn changed its algorithm last summer to significantly limit the views of Pulse posts and stopped automatically sending them as messages to the vast majority of users’ connections.
While LinkedIn remains an invaluable resource for professional contacts – particularly when job hunting – its utility as a social media distribution channel has greatly diminished.
Case Study 3: My Twitter Account
In my professional work as PR consultant, I have grown several clients’ Twitter accounts to more than 1,000 followers, while also increasing engagement.
However, as the saying goes, “The cobbler’s children have no shoes.”
For years my own Twitter account lagged, sputtering along with only sporadic tweets and embarrassingly few followers.
That changed last month, when I decided to build it up as my primary social media channel.
By posting consistently 15-20 times a day, strategically following like-minded accounts, and increasing my engagement with the Twitter community, my Twitter account has grown from just 250 followers to more than 1,700 in the past seven weeks.
The work has already paid off, as I’ve made a few more (virtual) friends, and Twitter now drives far more views to this blog than it did just a month ago.
The lessons here are simple, but worth repeating.
When it comes to social media, don’t try to do everything at once.
Start small, with one platform.
Focus on building an effective, engaged presence there and really learning to master that platform before slowly moving on to another one.
Ultimately, your readers/viewers/customers will thank you.