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The Side Dish

The Acrobatics of Successful Social Media Marketing

Comms Squad, BIG YAM Communications Team / 8.18.2017

Becoming “elite” in any field requires effort, tact, finesse and reflection. When I was a collegiate gymnast, our training centered on becoming elite athletes. Now, in my career as a public relations and digital marketing pro, I can see how the lessons that inspired me as a gymnast translate to the communications industry. So, chalk-up and get ready to discover the acrobatics of social media marketing.

Begin with the Basics

Wouldn’t it be nice to start gymnastics today, then step right onto the Olympic stage, perform a flawless routine and win a medal tomorrow? If it was THAT easy, then everyone would be part of the elite. It’s important to have goals. But in order to achieve them, you must establish a foundation and begin with the basics. For gymnasts, we learn the simplest forms of gymnastics like handstands and somersaults on the ground before taking them to the various apparatus.

The same is true with social media marketing — while it would be nice to start a social media platform which explodes with followers and engagements overnight, it takes time to build your following and brand online; you have to respect the process. First, you determine which social platforms will be best able to represent your brand and reach your targeted audience. Each behemoth social account started with its first follower. Next, you take the time to optimize your account. Using Facebook as an example, a new brand’s basics to success would be filling out the information completely and uploading eye-catching graphics before you ever make your first post. Prior to utilizing paid media and advertising to raise awareness, a brand should have a fair amount of organic quality content for new audiences to view and engage with once they reach your page.

Be Flexible

Too easy, but the parallel had to be made. Gymnasts are flexible and your social media marketing should be as well. There are no hard or fast rules to be successful on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Allow elasticity in your brainstorm sessions and think outside the box on how best to position your brand.

Consistent Effort

In his mid-sixties, my college gymnastics coach was a man who could both harp on you to work harder and also provide the most eloquent life advice a twenty-something could use in the trying times of higher education. Something he instilled in my teammates and I was the importance of being an industrious gymnast. When he first made the statement, we all looked quite puzzled, as most of us had never heard the word.

To be industrious means to work devotedly, diligently and enthusiastically — which are essentially the three qualities you need to become an elite athlete…or an amazing social media strategist. As collegiate gymnasts, our training was a full-time job, inside and outside the gym. During practice, we gave 100% effort from the moment we warmed up to the last rep of strength training. Outside of the gym, we studied hard to maintain good grades and fueled our upcoming workouts with clean eating.

Devoted social media pros are constantly pruning and maintaining their social networks. They show their diligence by posting multiple times a day with both curated and real-time content, by taking the time to respond to comments and messages in a timely fashion and by rooting out quality content for their followers. And as for enthusiasm — it is up to each person to bring a good attitude in the face of long hours and constant effort. Becoming industrious is crucial to “winning” at social media.

Evaluate Risks and Act Accordingly

To score well in an elite gymnastics competition, there are two main approaches – either perform extremely difficult and higher value skills with deductions or be more conservative and execute less difficult skills perfectly. When devising your social media strategy, it’s best to consider including a mix of both approaches. Make your risks calculated and well thought out to determine when they’re appropriate. Your target audience, intended message and brand image should all be considered whether you’re choosing between conservative or risky tactics.

Implement Flawlessly

Once you’ve completed the research, secured the perfect digital assets and imagery and written the epic copy, now the time has come to execute. Much like Olympic gymnasts, what you see on the big stage is the culmination of years of practice, hours in the gym full of blood, sweat and tears. You have done the work, now it is time to perform. While no campaign will launch without a bump or two, the important thing to remember is that you and your organization have done your due diligence. Have confidence, and let your efforts shine.

Performance Review

After your campaigns have had some time to perform, take a step back and evaluate your strategy. As gymnasts and many other elite athletes, consider this your film session. Reviewing your efforts from the outside looking in can pay huge dividends. It may help you:

  • Recognize opportunities missed,
  • Conceive a new tactical direction
  • Or to stay the course if your strategy is kicking butt

Creating a stellar social media or advertising campaign is no walk in the park and in a different way is as difficult as completing multiple flips and twists in the air. Keep these concepts in mind, and remember some things have more in common than you may think.

If you’re looking for an agency that’s flexible enough to bend over backward for your business and skilled enough to jump through hoops for you, the elite social media team at BIG YAM, the Parsons Agency is ready to jump in.