If you don’t already go running, walking, lift weights, or some other kind of physical activity to increase your creativity and productivity, stop reading now and do 50 push-ups. If it takes you all day, so be it. Get it done.
During my most recent run, I realized that the best fitness advice is also excellent advice for businesses embarking of their first forays into social media.
1. Set goals. You don’t want to start any running or workout routine without a goal. Couch to 5K is a great program with a reasonably challenging long-term goal – get off the couch and run a 5K. Your social media goal could be similar. For instance, “Connect with 250 followers on Facebook.”
2. Start small. A friend’s personal trainer asked her to see how far she could run in 12 minutes. It was a very small step toward her goal but it was essential to completing the 5K. Same goes for your social media campaign. Set a goal like “Create a Facebook page for my business today.” You’re not going to get any followers unless you start somewhere.
3. Be consistent. Every day, do something to work toward your goal. Some days you may walk more than others, but you have to get out there. For your Facebook followers goal, make sure you work on this every day. Plan relevant content to share. Reach out to potential followers and engage on their terms.
4. Be honest. Don’t cheat your running goal by stopping short on that difficult hill. Don’t cheat your social media campaign by avoiding customer research, addressing negative feedback and product improvement. Give your best in each endeavor.
5. Be accountable. A great tweet suggested marking red x’s on the calendar when you miss a workout. The same thing goes for building your online relationships. It takes work. Seeing a lot of red x’s in a row could be the thing that motivates you NOT to skip your activity for the day.
6. Get a partner. Running is lots more fun with someone and you’re less likely to bail if you know someone else will call you out! This can work for your Facebook strategy, too. Find a non-competing fellow business owner or even a willing friend and ask them to check on you. Bounce ideas off them, too.
7. Cross-train. You get better at running if you add in stretching and weights. You’ll get better at social media if you experiment with different methods, like using video or images to build relationships, engage customers and earn followers. Try out some other platforms, like LinkedIn.
8. Limit your junk food. Eating healthy will help you run better. Include some fiber in your diet. Check the nutritional content of your own social media feeds. Are you including too much junk? Are you filling up on empty calories and left feeling hungry? Get some high quality content from leading experts.
9. Get good gear. Those high-end running shoes cost more but can improve your total workout experience. And ladies, do not neglect the sports bra. Great gear can prevent injury, increase your enjoyment and enhance your performance. Try a refurbished smartphone if your budget is tight. Other tools can be accessed for free, like HootSuite and LinkedIn.
10. Reward your efforts. When you finish that 5K, celebrate! It doesn’t matter how fast you did it, save that kind of competition for your next effort – the 10K! When you hit 250 followers, celebrate! Host an event for your followers and promote the heck out it, starting with the next social media platform you plan to master…there’s no stopping you now!
A version of this post appeared on 12Most.com – read it here!