Wisdom Wednesdays: Are You Ready for Your (Social Media) Marathon? – Part 1

by Gretchen Jameson

This summer, after years of running and enjoying half-marathons, 5Ks and numerous “family fun runs,” I made the commitment to train for a marathon.  I’m at the point of implementing my training and nutrition plan and upping my current 20-25 miles per week to get ready for the race this October.

I’ve potentially lost half of my readers with that intro, but stick with me.

Deciding to tackle a marathon requires development of skills beyond running.  The biggest challenge for me?  Getting in the right mindset.  It’s not going to be easy (particularly to train through the summer in Missouri) and it’s going to take time.  Slogging out eight and 10 mile Saturday runs will seem endless, until I make it to those 22 and 24 mile preps for the final mileage.  Marathon training should reacquaint me with a lost gift: patience.

One of the effects of our hyper-accessible, always connected culture is what it’s doing to our appreciation for delayed gratification.  We expect (and at times demand) answers, responses, service, feedback, products and interaction immediately.  Whether we’re dealing with a coworker in the office, a teenage child via text or the customer service representative at the other end of the phone or Tweet, our expectation is for responsiveness — right now.

It’s an emerging fact of life: personal and professional communications interactions generally behave more like a sprint than a marathon.

And so, we must adapt.  Within our organizations, we need to cultivate our real time marketing and PR aptitude.  Our social-ness — our volunteer and donor and member care — must be constantly present, always on and authentically “right now.”  Thankfully, social media provides nonprofits with access to tools that enable real time to really happen.

Ironically, the time it takes to see the results of that real time, social media activity are not so speedy.  While our nonprofits are learning how to be quick and nimble, we need to distance train at the same time.

Building up social capital is time consuming.  There is a cost associated with it (no matter what you’ve heard), and getting it right isn’t quick or easy.  Still, planning and executing a strategic social media plan is worth the effort and certainly outweighs the cost of doing nothing.

When it comes to planning your nonprofit social strategy, better to approach it with a marathon mentality and not as a sprint.

We can’t apply an “if you build it; they will come” mentality to social media.  It’s ludicrous when communicators announce that they intend to develop a “viral video.”  We’ll be left frustrated if we craft the finest Facebook Timeline page with $50,000 custom apps and expect to see the masses flock to LIKE us.  Social media success doesn’t work that way.

So while you must be immediate and swift as you respond to your people, you must be considered and thorough and – dare I say it – patient as you seek to engage them.

Tune in next week as Gretchen provides additional insight into the marathon that is social media, with three vital points for your Social Media Marathon Plan.

Gretchen Jameson is the Founder and Principal of purePR, a communications strategy firm focused on helping nonprofit clients amplify their mission messages.  Connect with her on Twitter or join purePR on Facebook.

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One thought on “Wisdom Wednesdays: Are You Ready for Your (Social Media) Marathon? – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Wisdom Wednesdays: Are You Ready for Your (Social Media) Marathon? – Part 2 | ALDE

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