It’s very likely that anyone in the social media field has heard the phrase “social media is not a sprint but a marathon.” As I continue to learn more and more about the social media market and as my client load grows, I realize more than ever that this statement is one hundred percent true.

When most of us start out in social media, it’s hard not to behave like a kid in a candy store. We want to be on all the social platforms, we start conversations at every turn, we tweet, we post and we follow everyone we come across. While this strategy may work well in the beginning, it is definitely difficult to sustain in the long run. Especially as your list of clients and client responsibility grows. We want to do it all but it’s nearly impossible to do so without burning yourself out very quickly. So what steps should a social media consultant take in order to be able to finish the marathon without running out of steam? Hopefully, these five steps can help you put things into perspective:

  • Remember what your goals are – In the vast world of social media, it’s easy to get distracted with what our competitors are doing – some may be flashier, louder and brighter than we are. But that’s ok. Remember what you are doing and why you are here. Stick to your goals and work to achieve them.
  • Assess and re-assess your social platforms – In social media, while it can be fun and exciting to put yourself or your client on every social platform, it’s very likely that not every platform or network is appropriate for every client. If you continuously monitor your audience’s interactions on the different social networks, you can decide which one’s work best for your client and cut the rest loose. It may be better, in the long run, to focus on a few key platforms successfully than be engaged in all of them half-heartedly.
  • Get rid of the noise – This step is probably the hardest one for most of us to follow. Not all relationships online will be to your benefit. Some relationships will only ever be one-sided; some only take, without ever giving back. No matter how many followers, friends or connections you have, if they aren’t in line with your business philosophies, it may be time to cut them loose.
  • Pace yourself – It really isn’t a race. Whether you’re managing your own business or someone else’s, it’s important to remember that if you lose a few followers or “likes” because you aren’t posting or tweeting 5 times an hour, they weren’t really very loyal to begin with. It’s better to establish meaningful relationships with fewer followers than a superficial relationship with many.
  • If you fail, pick yourself up and start again – Not every social media campaign will take off the way you expect it to. Not every post will generate 50 responses. That’s ok. Don’t be afraid to experiment. If something doesn’t work in your social media strategy, remember that those using social media have short attention spans. In 22 hours, 51 minutes, they’ll have forgotten what you said anyway.

Social media has no destination. It is, in fact, a means to an end. If you are able to stick to your goals, cut the noise, do the work and pace yourself, you will succeed in running the social media marathon. You may even place in the top three.

What are your favourite strategies to reach your social media goals?