I am currently training for a marathon, which basically means I have a part-time job. My mornings, evenings and weekends consist of hours and hours of running. I have never run a full marathon, although I have completed a handful of half-marathons. Why am I running a marathon? Mostly because it’s on my bucket list and I’m not getting any younger.
One of the great things about running for hours at a time is that you get a lot of time to think. And for some reason, I seem to keep coming back to the idea that training for a marathon is a lot like running social media channels for your business. Here’s why…
You Need a Plan
When I started training for a marathon, I knew I needed a plan. Running a 26-mile race requires a lot of specific training. You can’t simply be in good shape and expect to be able to complete a race of that length. Because of that, I worked with a trainer to develop a training calendar that specified what kind of workouts I needed to be doing and when I needed to be doing them. When race day gets here, I will be prepared.
Social media also requires a plan. You can’t simply open up your Facebook page and post whatever you feel like on that day. You need to think about what your goal is and create a strategy for accomplishing that goal. And you need to break it down all the way to each specific day so you know what you are going to post and how that fits into your overall goal. Whenever we run social media channels for a business, we always start with a plan to make sure we know how we will reach our goals.
You have to be Consistent
As I am training for a marathon, I have to run on a regular basis and I can’t skip workouts. I can’t expect to be able to complete a marathon if I run for a week and then take two weeks off because I don’t feel like working out. I have to run consistently and according to my plan in order to reach my goal. Additionally, when I created my plan, I knew I was only going to be able to run three times each week. Because of that, I have a running plan that is adapted to my schedule so I don’t have to be running every day of the week.
Similarly, you must be consistent with your social media. It doesn’t do you any good to post for a week straight and then not post at all for two weeks. Your fans and followers expect you to post consistently. For example, we recommend posting twice a day on Facebook, but if you can’t commit to that frequency, it’s more important to be consistent. Just like my training plan, if you can only post once per day or every other day, that’s fine, as long as you’re consistent and you understand that you might not reach your goal as quickly as you would like.
Sometimes, It’s not Fun
I enjoy running long distances. But waking up at 6am on a Saturday morning to run for a few hours while the temperature rises to 90 degrees is not fun. I would much rather be sleeping. However, I know that if I don’t do it, I will not be prepared when race day comes along. I know that when it comes time to run that race, I will be happy that I put in the time, sweat and miles during the months leading up to it.
Running social media for your company can be a drag. Sure, social media is supposed to be fun and enjoyable, but it can also be really difficult to come up with creative, unique content on a daily basis. There will be some days that you won’t want to do it and there will be times when it would be more convenient to post something generic just for the sake of having a post. However, if you stick with the plan and execute it properly, you will be glad you did when you reach your goal.
While I don’t recommend that everyone train for a marathon, I do suggest approaching your social media marketing with the same commitment and structure. Get a plan in place, be consistent and don’t give up when it gets tough. If you stick with it, you’ll be glad you did.
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