As originally published on Forbes.com.
Most social media marketers know that their jobs can be hectic. With customers using social media 24/7, and with so many platforms to use, where policies and best practices seem to change daily, comparing social media marketing to yoga might sound like a stretch (no pun intended). But it’s not. Here are six ways you can find your social media Zen.
Yoga is a great way to help strengthen your body. And just like a pose to tone up your tummy, you need a strong core to get started on a successful social media campaign. Brands cannot “do” social media just to do it. Before the first line of content gets written, objectives and goals must be well laid out. Ask yourself:
• Why are we using social media?
• What do we want to accomplish?
• Who do we want to reach?
• How do we reach them?
• Where do we reach them?
• Do we have enough time and resources to not only allocate to social media but also to do it consistently well?
A solid plan with proper goals will lead to a strong and successful campaign.
Proper alignment in yoga not only allows students to really feel the benefit of the pose, but it also helps to keep them safe and free from injury. Your social media marketing goals need to be in alignment with your brand’s voice, the content being produced and, most importantly, with the audience’s expectation and perception of your brand. If they are not all cohesive and aligned, your brand messaging will be mixed and confusing to consumers, and you just might hurt your brand image.
Tree pose, where you’re standing on one leg with the other leg bent, foot pressed flat against the standing leg’s inner thigh, is a tough pose for many. Balance is hard on one leg, just like balancing a career and life is hard in reality. However, balancing your social media content should not be.
Ensure that your content is a mix of promotional, educational, fun and even includes behind-the-scenes posts that keep readers and viewers engaged. Think of social media like walking into a bar with friends. You don’t automatically try to start selling your friends and bar patrons a product. If you do talk about your product or brand, it should come up naturally, organically. No one really enjoys in-your-face, “salesy” promotions.
Be transparent, have fun and show the story behind your brand. People are more apt to buy and become brand loyal when they either identify with the brand or get to know it more than just as a flashy logo. It’s OK to push out a promotional piece of content, just review your content calendar to ensure that you have a balance of other types of content, too, and that anything you push out is in alignment with your goals and objectives.
Not every yoga student has the flexibility to do all yoga poses to their fullest expression. That comes with time and practice. However, social media marketers don’t have the time and definitely don’t want to practice to get good at flexibility. They need to be flexible the second their social media efforts go public.
Social media, by nature, is fluid and ever-changing. From online campaigns that seek a mass boycott of products to a sudden shift in how major platforms show customers your content, social media is not a set-it-and-forget-it form of marketing. An action plan for any predictable occurrences is always smart.
From having a response plan for a product that has unintentionally caused harm to consumers to a change in reach on Facebook, being proactive is beneficial to your brand and will ultimately protect your brand image and the hard work you’ve put into your social campaigns. While we can’t always predict what might happen, social media marketers must be prepared for what could happen on a national level and how it might impact their brand. If a national incident occurs, going dark on social might be the best option. Review upcoming content and gauge the mood of the audience before relaunching any social media efforts.
It can be frustrating for yoga students to see others easily getting into poses that they are struggling to try. Patience should be applied to any social media marketing plan. While social media moves fast, sometimes your campaigns and page growth lag a bit behind. It takes time for people to find your pages and start to engage. Of course, marketers need to help them out by promoting their social pages, creating engaging content and including a social ad spend in their budget for promoted posts, pins and tweets.
Most marketers have looked at a post that they thought was fantastic, only to hear the proverbial sound of crickets as no one shares, likes, retweets or comments on it. It happens to the best of us. But with patience and perseverance, pages and posts will start to gain traction.
Self-reflection, also known as Svādhyāya, is a key part to any yoga practice. And while sometimes that review of who and what we are can be uncomfortable, knowing where we need to grow is always enlightening. A key part of social media marketing is a reflection on how well you’re adhering to the previously determined goals and objectives, as well as the metrics on the pages and posts you’ve created. If the numbers aren’t meeting your expectations, it’s the marketers’ responsibility to reflect on what is working, what’s not and why, and then make changes.
A teacher once said, “It’s called yoga practice, not yoga perfect.” And that is how social media marketers should consider their social media. Instead of striving for that viral video or the post that gets a million impressions, find what works for your brand and never get stuck in complacency. What works one day may not work another. Always keep trying.