One of the things that we do often is help a business either start or restart their social media strategy. Too often businesses just say, “TO THE INTERNETS!” when they decide to start building their strategy. Their social media strategy is often, “use social media”.

This particular post isn’t about building a social media strategy. There are lots of posts about that. Buffer does a great job with social media strategy guides, as does Hootsuite and we’ve written a few things that I think could help as well.

But this post isn’t about that. This post is about what happens next.

You see in most cases, when we start a new social strategy or when we revamp an existing strategy, the client always has one question;

How many new followers am I going to get?

Now I’ll start by saying that I understand this question. I get it. I know why you asked it. You’re not dumb for asking it. It’s a good question.

In theory.

I answer this question in a very different way than most. When I hear this question posed in various circles, I hear a lot of the same answers.

  • It’s difficult to judge exactly.
  • We want to focus on engagement, not followers.
  • Sometimes it can take some time to see results.
  • We want to establish our goals and then measure ourselves based on those goals.

These are all true. And they’re all very good points.

But lately (often using some different words depending on the audience) here’s what I’ve said when people have asked that question;

“Here’s how long I think we’re going to have to eat shit for.”

And then I explain.

When you first get started with a new strategy or a strategy at all, there’s usually a little bit of a quick influx. A few people are going to notice that you’re doing something different. You’ll get some great comments about your cool new content. You’ll get some follows. You’ll probably get a few shares.

And then…crickets.

Developing people’s opinion of you, in a positive way, is not an instantaneous thing. You can’t say, “we’re good” and expect the internet to just line up and start pushing “buy”.

Instead, you need to spend QUITE SOME TIME establishing to your audience exactly who you are, exactly what you do and, most importantly, exactly why they should care. Now in a perfect world, everyone stands in front of you and you pitch and then you see what people think.

But social media is not a perfect world. There are MILLIONS of accounts all vying for that attention. So how do you beat that?

Just make something viral? Right? It’s easy. You just need a meme… or a GIF…or something and then everyone will love you, right?

Nope.

I’ve had clients ask me how to create a viral video and I always answer the same thing. “If I knew, I probably wouldn’t be here talking to you right now.”

It’s possible to create content that will engage and create traction for you and for your business, but god only knows IF or WHEN that traction will happen. There are viral tweets on your timeline RIGHT NOW that are from YEARS ago and the right person just happened to stumble upon it recently.

But what do you mean, “eat shit”?

Well, it’s like this. You’ve think figured out who you think your audience are. You think you know who you are. You think you know what you do and why the people that you think are your audience will want to connect with you. And so you plan some content and you push it out and no one cares.

Thi happens.

All the time.

Sometimes your social media strategy isn’t good. Maybe you don’t know who your audience REALLY are. Maybe you don’t know what your product REALLY is. It happens.

It is incredibly unlikely that every swing you take results in a home run. And it can be soul crushing to realize that people just don’t care about those foul balls or missed balls.

Whether or not you’re going to succeed will depend on two things;

Are you willing to eat shit long enough and are you willing to admit that it’s your fault?

Some companies will insist that the customer just doesn’t understand. You’re probably right. But that’s not the customers fault. That’s your fault. If you crafted the right content, it would work. it might not work as quickly as you want it to but the right stuff, given time, WILL WORK. So if it is NOT working, then you need to understand that it’s NOT good content.

So it goes back to this?

Are you willing to eat shit long enough and are you willing to admit that it’s your fault?

That’s the big question. If you’re in a hurry, there are short cuts you can take. There always are. If you want to use some of those methods, feel free. First, I’d recommend that you check out The Humans Strike Back and if you’re someone who thinks those tricks are a good idea as part of a long term strategy, you’re the social media equivalent of a Nigerian prince with a trust fund.

Now go, and eat shit. It’s the best social media strategy I have to offer.

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