Social media is a game of patience, strategy, constant testing and learning, and that’s why most of you struggle with it. When Google Adwords, email marketing, and banner ads were the go-to, it was “easy” because there was instant attribution. You hit “go” and you saw the results — or lack of results — come in. With social, it’s different. It takes time — not just to learn, but to achieve what you want, and that’s the problem a lot of you are facing.
And I have empathy for that, especially for those in smaller businesses. A lot of you might not have the resources to allocate toward learning social or having someone on the ball for you to keep up with what’s new and effective. It can be expensive, time-consuming, and most so, it’s a slow game. Sure, you can hire an outside “expert” to help but if they don’t communicate to you that it’s a two-, three-, four- or five-year game, then you’re never going to be pleased with their services and then you’re back to the notion that social media “doesn’t work.”
Look, the world is moving in an interesting way and if you haven’t noticed the shift, let me lay it out for you. When TV became a mainstay, radio slowly died as a means for promotion because the content being distributed on television became more compelling. Those who moved first on TV to advertise their businesses won and those that were romantic with the medium through which they always advertised (radio), lost. And as the internet has come along, the same story has played itself out. TV has become the new radio. What matters is where the attention is, and it’s quite clear that social media has it. You either accept that or you don’t. And so, if you’re complaining about losing attention and you want to win in today’s world and get what you want from your consumer, then you need to be active on social. No matter which way you twist it, everybody’s in the media business.
And I know what you’re thinking. The world is moving so quickly that most of the platforms that are popular one day wind up fading away as attention shifts (except for the rare few that have maintained a stronghold). So why “waste” your time getting to know them? Why put all these resources into learning these new platforms when there’s a good chance they won’t be as useful in a few years? Well, what’s the ROI of not getting on these platforms? Zero.
I take pride in being a first-mover when a new technology or platform starts to pick up speed. And it’s okay if you don’t. It’s the bed I’ve made. And yes, maybe I spent a lot of time on platforms like Vine (which is now shutting down) when it started to take off. Many platforms like it were thought to be the next behemoth and so I learned everything about them as soon as I could. Even though some things don’t play out as expected, the skills I acquired from getting in the trenches allowed me to excel on the next platforms that took way (think Instagram and Snapchat) and that’s crucial. And what about the following I amassed while on those short-lived platforms? They followed me to the next one. And that’s the game. Test, learn, play to the context of the room (the platform), and build a presence. If what you’re doing is of value to the consumer, they’ll follow you wherever you end up going.
Please understand that I’m not saying it’s necessary to be on every single platform just because they’re “big.” What’s necessary is that you get on the platforms that have your customers’ attention and make sense to you and your businesses storytelling capabilities. If traditional methods still work for you, great. But if your business is losing attention then you need to adjust and learn what’s out there. It’s hard, but so was driving when you first started. It took me seven years to amass 500,000 Facebook page fans and only three months to double that number after a few pieces of content took off. Things take time, but the only way to learn is to do — to consistently execute.
So I beg you, please stop reading about it and please start doing.
About Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary Vaynerchuk builds businesses. Fresh out of college he took his family wine business and grew it from a $3M to a $60M business in just five years. Now he runs VaynerMedia, one of the world's hottest digital agencies. Along the way he became a prolific angel investor and venture capitalist, investing in companies like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Uber and Birchbox before eventually co-founding VaynerRSE, a $25M angel fund.
Gary also currently hosts The #AskGaryVee Show, a way of providing as much value as possible by taking questions about social media, entrepreneurship, startups and family businesses, and giving his answers based on a lifetime of building successful, multimillion dollar companies. The show is also available as a podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and SoundCloud.
Gary is also a prolific public speaker, delivering keynotes at events like Le Web and SXSW, which you can watch on his YouTube channel. He was named to both Fortune and Crain's 40 under 40 lists in consecutive years, and has been profiled in the New York Times, Fortune and Inc.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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