speaker, consultant, coach

The long haul of social media

Here is a wonderful video that I found yesterday on Vimeo and shared to Twitter that bears part of the title of this post. I won't be offended if you don't watch it, but it might help to reinforce the point.

NO - The Long Haul - Music Video from Jovan Todorovic on Vimeo.

But, in all seriousness, the quicker you can assimilate the idea that entering the social media sea you will be swimming for a long time before you can point to a reasonable return on your time/money the better.

The thing is with social media, you have to feel that you are getting better, but too many people hope that it will happen by itself. In other words, simply being in the game is enough.

It isn't.

You have to work hard at it every day, moment by moment.

But, don’t just be taken in by the more is better brigade.

Stop and focus.

I have shared before the hierarchy of success of Seth Godin:

1. Attitude
2. Approach
3. Goals
4. Strategy
5. Tactics
6. Execution

Which end of the ladder are you focused on?


I’m all for making sure that your firm’s goals are aligned with your social media efforts, but if your attitude or approach is all wrong – “let’s bug the crap out of people” – then no amount of slick tactics, or rapid execution is going to lift your effort.

This isn’t about brainwashing people – we need sceptics to make us think carefully if our life is worth the social media candle – but if you can get your organisation to think of social media as something other than a marketing tool, so much the better. Even things like CSR can be made to look and feel completely different once you add a social component.

If you acknowledge the need to look beyond the next few months or year, then it’s time to map out the integration and use of social media.


Job #1 is make sure you get as many people as possible to change their approach. Forget the naysayers. They can stew in their own sense of self-righteousness.

In my experience, it’s more a confidence thing. People feel drawn to the need to share, create art and be the best version of themselves, and social is the perfect instrument for all these. But they need to feel, dare I say, empowered.

That means having a sensible policy, some focused training and a leadership programme that reinforces the importance of social from top to bottom.

Next, look at your outcomes. Change the conversation once in a while away from the bland lead generation talk. Think about the influence you have to change opinion, turn people on to your way of doing things and share the remarkable.

Finally, consider carefully if you need all those platforms. If I’ve heard the question once “what shall I write/create/talk about” I’ve heard it a thousand times. The problem I find isn’t one of writer’s block or an absence of creative juice, but rather there’s simply too much choice. Tell people that they only have one platform, and the conversation quickly changes.

But I wouldn’t put every person to work on blogging. Find a few Slideshare or Instagram Ninja’s. In other words don’t shoehorn every person to do the same, even if you’ve heard it’s uber successful for SEO or the like.

I recognise it would be much better if I could shine a light on an organisation that has trailed-blazed their way to success but apart from a few American slightly apocrophyl stories that always seem to come up in conversation, I would just accept that for now the script isn’t written. And you have a blank canvass just waiting for your magic to appear.

I seem to spend a lot of my time working with organisations trying to get them to see a different world to the one they have peddled for so long. It’s hard. Bloody hard. When everything has been so routine, asking them to think laterally or just differently is no mean feat. If I’m honest even my efforts seem half-hearted at times. I know that I have no choice but to amp up my thinking. It’s great that I’ve blogged, posted a few Soundcloud recordings and done some speaking gigs but I need to produce higher quality content, including ebooks, videos and courses – so much to do so little time to do it.

But hell, I couldn’t be happier. So what if it might take me another five years before I feel I’ve made a difference. I know in that period the platforms will change, a lot of new people will move into the space and things will speed up. I’m not normally known for being the most patient person in the world but on this occasion I’m willing to play the longer, long game.

What about you?

How long have you given yourself?

And how will you define success?

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