“I don’t have enough time!”
Those five words are uttered over and over by small business owners, entrepreneurs (and, believe it or not, big, scary brands) when it comes to maximizing this new world of online marketing and brand building.
“I don’t have time to create really interesting content.”
“I don’t have time to visit blogs and forums and become a part of the conversation.”
“I don’t have time to reply to my followers on Twitter.”
What is interesting about this complaint is the word time used to be replaced by “money.”
Pre-social Web days? Buy some ads. It took money, but far less time. Hire some awesome creatives and watch the magic happen. However, this was never really a (good) option for small business owners.
The problem is many businesses have taken this “pre-social Web” approach to the social Web–and it just doesn’t work. What I mean is hiring an agency to tweet on your behalf or come up with “campaigns” (some agencies are doing it right and spending their effort advising clients, as opposed to doing it for them).
There is no beating around the digital bush. If you want to build a brand online (or bring a brand online) for the long run, it takes a lot of time, effort, drive, creativity, passion and patience (along with personality and caring).
Here is the good news, though: The social Web offers a huge advantage for hustling entrepreneurs as opposed to big brands. Everyone has a shot at building a community and/or becoming a trusted resource online….as well as having a thriving business (what could be better?)
The social Web is similar to the dating world. I’m sure you have heard stories (or experienced them yourself) of the guy (or girl) who casually dates but tells their date that right now they “don’t have time for a relationship.” When probed, it is easy to come up with excuses:
“I’m really focused on my business.”
“I travel a lot.”
“I like to spend my time naked watching Pokemon.” (awkward)
But suddenly, this person meets the right guy or girl and is head over heels in love! Suddenly, he or she does have time for a relationship and is married a year or two later.
Whoa! Where did that time come from? Did it just magically appear out of nowhere?
Or maybe it’s this simple:
We make time for things we care about.
We make time for things that are valuable.
We make time for things when we want to make time for them.
Simple: Make the time. View brand building in the social Web era as a long-term relationship. You have to put the effort in, knowing that the fruits of your labor are down the line (not today, not tomorrow, but later).
Take the time to strike up new relationships.
Take the time to create interesting content, whether it be text, video or audio (or a combo!)
Take the time to interact and make small talk with people.
Take the time to answer your e-mail.
Take the time to reply to your messages.
Once you start seeing the value of the social Web, it will be hard to remember where all that time was going in the first place.