Today it seems as if something-or-other goes viral every day.  And much like an Olympian, success doesn’t happen overnight; an Olympian trains all year,  if not most of their lives.   

So how does this relate to social media, you ask?

In keeping with the Olympian analogy, the truth is sometimes you can train endlessly and not make it to the Olympics. The key is to keep your sights on realistic goals — where you are now and where you want to go. Let’s face it, most of us will never experience what it’s like to compete in the Olympics, but with the focus on some key ideas we can have success with social media, in whatever way you define that.   

Oftentimes it helps to collaborate with a professional to get results, but the line of thinking goes something like this:

“Everyone else is doing this social media thing. So, we need to get on that.”

“Yeah, I heard that 87% of small businesses say that social media helps their business.”

“Well, my kid is on that stuff all the time. If my 12-year-old can do it then an intern should be able to handle it and we don’t have to spend extra money on it.” 

Here is an obvious but frequently overlooked question: Would you hire a young, inexperienced kid to run your marketing department? Probably not. Too often interns, familiar with social media for their personal use, are running social media for businesses. The two are remarkably different.   While there is no guarantee that social media will work (just like in regular marketing) a strategy needs to be considered and goals.   

Be realistic about what you should expect from it and how to measure that.  For instance:  

Facebook Analytics:  This data that tells you how people interact with your content and how you can apply this data to your social media strategy and business as a whole. 

Feedback: Instead of guessing what needs to be improved and what is working well, the answer is right there in the comments section in Facebook. How simple is that? Feedback can lead to some amazing progress for marketing and business in general. 

Relationships: Social media is conducive to conversation, something you can’t do with any other media platform. You can’t start a very effective relationship with potential customers through the TV or even radio, but you can through social media.                                

And social media can give your brand credibility and you the opportunity to lead the conversation.  Also, it gives businesses the ability to listen to customers.   

So keep your sights on realistic expectations and remember that quality not quantity applies here more than ever.