Last week, a small business owner client told me that some of his participants in a service-based program reported frustration and disappointment in the end result. He was very careful to explain what this program can and cannot do for them - and he was sure they understood that his job was to position them to acquire a result, but that he cannot guarantee that they will achieve it by the conclusion of the program.
I can relate to his challenges. Just last week, a client told us they had to exit our working relationship because they did not get more customers. This client signed a year contract and verbally affirmed our process for lead generation. Yet, after only six weeks, they pulled the plug.
This is not uncommon. People are impatient.
We live in a magic pill society.
It's unfortunate, but it's true. When we want something, we want it yesterday and we are quick to bail when we don't see immediate results. Granted, there are exceptions. I have a handful of clients who have waited patiently for the results of their efforts and some have achieved it four-fold. But, countless prospects and some clients come to us with starry eyes expecting social media to work wonders. Often, these folks have no personal accountability for their efforts, and are unwilling to do their part as our partner. Others want a quick-fix or get-rich scheme.
When I first started blogging in 2010, I struggled to find my voice. I also struggled to develop relevant content because I was still gaining experience in my business. But, even if it took me four hours, I pumped out a blog once a week. For a year, I published two blogs a week. Some may think this comes natural or easy to me, given my field, but it was rather challenging. There are some who think social media professionals should know everything and because of this, I was often reluctant to churn out content for fear that I would say or do something wrong. I know better now, but I did spend a lot of time trying to be perfect.
After six months of blogging, I started to attract a following. At the one-year mark, I started to see leads. At the five-year mark, I receive dozens of online leads each month and I've acquired clients from all over the world. My tactic is my own - and not for everyone - but two things remain - patience and consistency. The key is to stay the course. Sweat. Listen. Pivot. Repeat.
My web partner and friend, John Webster, who recently ran his first marathon and is currently training for a half Ironman competition said, "One thing endurance sports has made me appreciate is that amazing accomplishments happen with little accomplishments done consistently, over a period of time."
It's this formula that I weave into the social media plan for my clients. I spend the first three to six months of our working relationship setting the stage for long-term success. It's not unusual that my clients see a desired outcome in that time, but it's certainly not something I expect or promise. I strive for small wins, build on that momentum, rinse and repeat. It's in this process that we find the real magic happens. But, it doesn't happen overnight - and it's certainly not something that happens with a pill.