What!? Creating Effective Social Media Marketing is Like Learning to Meditate.

Only if we approach marketing as a “practice” will it produce the kind of meaningful content that earns attention.

Both social media marketing and meditation are not “one and done” kinds of efforts. Both require a commitment to a journey and the development of a practice.

My experiences as a social media strategist and web marketing mentor tell me that if you want to make a real difference — both for our world and for your business — it’s going to take a commitment to the process that is strikingly similar to what it takes to develop a meditation practice.

Forget what the “get rich quick” folks promise you, authentic marketing (the only kind worth doing) is a journey involving experimentation and missteps, and perhaps most of all, a willingness to do some serious inquiry about why you are in this game in the first place.

On my own journey to online marketing “well-being,” a couple of things have inspired me recently. I think they also inform the nature of the journey to meaningful, long term success.

1) Headspace: The Secret Ingredient to Both Online Marketing & Meditation

The book that inspired me to write this post is Get Some Headspace by Andy Puddicombe, founder of Headspace.com and the “how to learn to meditate” app with the same name.

What impressed me about this book was the way that Puddicombe talks about what it takes for people to learn meditation and to develop that learning as a practice. Just like with meditation, people also often give up quickly on social media marketing. In both cases, people are required to engage in a process. There is no quick fix or “silver bullet.”

Usefully, Puddicombe breaks this process down into three stages so that people know it’s not a “one and done” kind of thing. First, he talks about learning how to approach learning mediation. Then, in a second stage, he talks about how to develop meditation as a practice. And finally, he pulls it all together in a third stage, which is how to integrate your learning into a long term way of living.

As a social media mentor and strategist, it seems to me that this kind of three-stage, realistic approach makes good sense. Especially because I see so much of what’s going on as being based on an expectation that sounds like this, “Hey, here’s my new strategy: I’ll just sign up for this program; and before you know it, I’ll have a six figure income.”

That’s clearly bullshit. It needs to become a practice. That’s what thought leader and best selling author Seth Godin is talking about when he recommends that people blog daily.

2) The Real Reward: Authentic Engagement

Another related inspiration came via a podcast that is also a Creative Live video. In the episode shown below, host and Creative Live founder Chase Jarvis interviews Seth Godin, originator of the term “permission marketing” and author of 18 NYTimes bestselling books.

The part of this interview that jumped out at me is where Seth says at the end of the segment (15:51–21:09):

“We are living in the most crowded creative universe in history… You are NOT entitled to any attention. You are NOT entitled to any leverage. but, if you dig ever deeper into the stuff that truly matters, you may EARN some attention.”

Ah, I love the idea of, earning attention.” Neither more noise, nor more content, nor following some supposedly “magic” formula will not cut it in today’s marketplace. Digging deeper in order to determine, over time, “the stuff that truly matters” is pretty much the only thing that will create authentic engagement.

In other words, if you’re not offering a product or service that is truly valuable and/or if your content doesn’t stand out as something exceptional, then it’s virtually impossible to be successful — no matter whose formula you follow. Even the most brilliant tips and tricks will not win you meaningful success.

So, HOW do I recommend that you approach social media marketing?

Inspired by Puddicombe’s approach, here’s my first draft of the three stages of how to develop a social media marketing practice:

1. Learn How to Approach Learning Social Media & Your Messaging:

  • Learn what really matters to you and inquire deeply in order to discover what meaningful value can you offer.
  • Become able to communicate how what you are doing is different and worthy of attention.
  • Consider working with a coach or mentor in order to get started on the right foot, inspired by your own Authentic Voice.

2. Get to Work by Experimenting Consistently:

  • Experiment in ways that nurture and develop your Authentic Voice.
  • Explore ways to enhance your value. Try blogging. Try video production. Experiment with webinars and video chats such as Facebook Live or Blab.im.
  • Develop a content calendar, a schedule/discipline, and stick to it. Consistency is key.
  • Get feedback. For example, make requests of your audience for feedback via surveys. Develop a community or tribe of supporters you trust to give you useful input.

3. Integrate Content Creation into Your Business Processes:

  • Allow content creation to evolve into a team effort.
  • Create alignment amongst your team — virtual or otherwise — so that your online marketing efforts are sustainable, easy and fun.
  • Establish business systems, “playbooks” and processes so that the high quality of your content can be maintained and continually improved.

The Marketing Road Less Traveled

As Robert Frost famously wrote:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — 
 I took the one less traveled by,
 And that has made all the difference.

My commitment is to your success, not just more money (that too), but most importantly the invaluable opportunity to make our world a better place and to make your work more meaningful.

May your success be well-earned and may you thoroughly enjoy your journey!

(Note: This post was inspired by my ComBridges.com blog post: 
Social Media Strategy: So Much More Than Tips & Tactics)

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