I have three nephews. They all play baseball. If I took a snapshot in 2007 of where all three were it would look like this:
- The youngest started to play T-ball. He was able to hit the ball without using the T.
- The second was playing little league baseball. He learned the importance of team work that year.
- The oldest’s team won their tournament.
Now what if we pressured on the youngest (7 years old) to win a tournament that year? It sounds silly right? He was learning how to hit a ball let alone how to win a tournament.
Unfortunately that’s what happens when you don’t define what success looks like,especially with social media. You step up to bat,barely knowing the game and expect to knock it out of the park.
It doesn’t happen like that.
In order to be successful,whether it’s in baseball,business,social media or life,you need to define what success looks like.
When you define what success looks like,you have something to measure your actions against. When you don’t,you’re guessing whether you were successful.
Many times final results are used to measure success. Did you increase sales? Did you get a ton of new customers? But there are so many other checkpoints along the way not only to measure success,but also to track your progress toward the bigger goal.
Lessons along the way
My oldest nephew didn’t become a great catcher when he was in T-ball. At that time,he was learning to hit and catch the ball like my youngest nephew was doing in 2007.
Gradually as his skills grew,he began to catch,pitch and hit.
All along the way,however,we celebrated his successes. When he hit his first balls,we cheered. When he caught his first pop fly,we cheered. When he pitched his first game we cheered.
We didn’t sit there an judge him along the way. Sure there was feedback given,but it was to build his skills,not to ask why he wasn’t at tournament level at 7 years old.
How can you learn to cheer along the way
There are three things you can start to do right away to define success.
- Step Back. If you are only focused on the end result,you can’t see all the smaller steps to celebrate and work towards.
- Define the small steps. Once you step back,define the small key steps you need to accomplish to win your tournament.
- Define what success looks like for those steps.
- Celebrate your successes.
Marilyn has a local shop. She wanted to use social media to help her build her business (win the tournament). She set up a Facebook page,joined LinkedIn,set up a profile on Twitter and had her website re-designed.
Then she waited. And waited. And waited.
By the time she came to me she was so frustrated. “This social media thing doesn’t work,”she said at our first meeting. “I’ve tried everything and still I haven’t gotten any customers.”
As you’ve probably already figured out,her only definition of success was getting customers. She had not defined success along the way.
Once we stepped back and looked at her whole process,we were able to define key smaller steps (i.e. batting,catching,running) she needed to take to move her social marketing along. For her those were cutting down the number of social sites she was focusing on,being more consistent with her posting and interacting with her “fans.”
She set small weekly goals for each of the steps. The first week she saw some success. The biggest challenge was Marilyn herself. She was learning how to integrate this type of relationship building into her daily routine.
Over the next several weeks,she became more comfortable with the process. As she did,she was able to increase her consistency and interactions.
It takes some work
Marilyn learned that it took practice to build the habits,track her results and celebrate her success. After I shared the analogy of my nephews,she made a “practice”schedule for herself. Being a mother of little league players she related to the story.
“I tell my kids how important it is to get to practice. I drive them there. I ask them how they did. I even cheer them on. So why wouldn’t I do the same with my social media marketing?”
Four years later
I’m happy to report that my youngest nephew just won the 10 year old tournament this Spring. See,hard work does pay off!