The Social Media Gym: Why Is Social Media Like The Gym?


1. You Have To Practice a Little, Every Day, to See Results

The gross reality that no one wants to hear is that there is no quick fix for social media. You might get the odd fluke account that goes viral, but realistically, most companies will never go viral and instead rely on a slowly growing, steady base of followers to build up their social media reach.  If you go to the gym every day for a month, then don't go for a year, you will soon lose the effects of that first month. The same goes for social media. You have to find a way to integrate it into your business routine so that it doesn't get neglected, even at times where it seems frivolous or lacks urgency. I started this blog over two years ago and just hit 75,000+ pageviews, which sounds impressive but is actually fairly average. I've had periods of time where I've been committed to creating content consistently, and times where it's been neglected, but I've always put in a couple of hours a month at the very least to keep it active, even though at the time I couldn't see the direct benefit of it on my business.

2. You Think Everyone Is Doing It Better Than You

It's so easy to look at your friend and think 'she's so skinny compared to me, and she always eats junk food!' or you know, 'they have so many followers! Why don't I?' but it's more difficult to imagine the amount of time and effort put into some successful brands social media strategy and content. Nothing comes easy, and comparing yourself to others isn't fair on yourself or on your brand. 

In addition to this, there's plenty of cheating that goes on. That gym selfie where they suck in their stomach or puff out their chest? Yeah, that could be great lighting and flattering angle. Accounts with thousands of followers haven't necessarily gained them in an orthodox way. Furthermore, accounts that cheat may seem to be winning, but the chance that they will actually convert that into monetisation or enduring customer loyalty is fairly slim.

3.No Matter How Much You Spend, It's Basically The Same Toolkit

The great thing about content marketing is that it's essentially levelled the playing field between companies with huge advertising budgets, and start-ups with little to spend on digital marketing. Because great content is often low-cost or free, just time-consuming, small companies can compete with the best of them for people's attention. Add this to online consumers of the younger generation being increasingly wary of 'sponsored' forms of content online, and you could even start to think that startups have a marked advantage in this area, relying on giving away free valuable content to their audiences and shying away from big, glossy campaigns (that create 'inauthentic' seeming messages).

Whether you work out at a luxury leisure club with a swimming pool and tennis court or have a subscription at a city gym in a shopping centre, you're using the same essential toolkit. In fact, having a swimming pool and bar in the gym can often be a distraction to what you ACTUALLY need to do - just like having the frills of lots of social media software and large budgets for campaigns can steer you away from focussing on the content itself.

The true skill comes in using the basic kit to it's greatest ability. To be efficient and lean with how you use it, and maximise value instead of lounging by the pool all day wasting time and burning very few calories (or gaining very few followers...)

4. Measuring Your Success Gives You A Plan

When people want to lose weight or get fit, they give themselves goals to work towards. Not only do they set goals, but they give themselves a meal plan to follow along the way to help them get there. They measure their success along the way so they know what works and what doesn't to get them to where they need to be, rather than blindly following a regiment for six weeks that ends up not working for them and not shifting the weight they wanted to lose.

In social media, tracking progress and analysing is as essential as creating content. If you don't figure out what works, you will continue spending time, resources and maybe even money on things that don't. Just because social media is often free, a lot of businesses feel they don't need to estimate their Return On Investment. But time is an investment like anything else, and your social media activity should be streamlined like any other business activity. Furthermore, keeping track of the success of your content will give you a clearer idea of how to develop it and continue it going forward, informing your larger strategy and how digital marketing ties into your business development goals.

This is the first in a series of articles called The Social Media Gym. Part Two will be released next week and explain platform specific ways of sorting out your social marketing. Part Three will be the final article and give you actionable tips on how you can start improving your social media presence today!

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