How Learning Social Media is Like Running a Half Marathon

About eight weeks ago a friend of mine asked our group if we wanted to train for a half-marathon. Without thinking I decided to jump in with a leap of faith. Just the thought of running for 2½ hrs seemed so daunting but I still began the journey with trepidation

Whether we want to admit it or not, beginning social media is daunting, overwhelmingand not lacking it’s own trepidations. Learning the many different types of social media…Twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and all the others in between can be like learning another language, but you dive in anyway.

Endurance and Motivation-Just like running in the rain, it’s not fun when the conditions are not just perfect. Once you get out there, the feeling of accomplishment when you’re done is amazing. Well, it’s the same with social media. Sometimes a blog post can seem like the most challenging thing on your list but once it’s done and someone comments thanking you for the information you feel…..yup you guessed it, Amazing! Ask any blogger or social media guru and they’ll tell you that social media requires some serious motivation!

Confidence-In SM you have to trust that there are people out there who want to hear your message. Only you can say it in your “voice.” You are the only one who can deliver your message the way YOU can. Diving into blogging and Facebook takes cojones and confidence. Knowing what you can offer is imperative and having the confidence to get out there and do it often is a must. The same applies to running. Sometimes you have good training days and others are not so great but you just keep going.

A training schedule-This is the most crucial aspect of both running a half and for social media. Without it you could get hurt. Running too often or overexertion can cause injury. The same goes for social media, too much can hurt you. You do not want to saturate your readers.

Potentially addicting– Coming from a girl that didn’t “like to sweat” I never thought I’d say that I could potentially become addicted to running but, it’s true, I loved the feeling and wanted to run more often to get the “runner’s high.” In SM I think we can call it the “community high.” You find yourself wanting to check your Facebook page, see what’s trending in Twitter and begin to love the community you’ve built around your own interests.

The finish line-I don’t know if runners, just like people who begin social media, would ever consider themselves finished. Just like in running, you are always striving to beat your last time, perfect your form, or  find the next challenge. In social media we do the exact same thing. We strive to provide more value for our followers, add finesse to our engagements and we are always looking to explore/master the next best thing. So instead of calling it the finish line, I’d like to refer to it as finding your stride.

This is the part of running when all is calm, your breathing is even, your stride is perfect and you are simply enjoying your run. No aches, no pain, just pure and simple running. Social media is the same. Finding your stride in social media is when you have developed your natural rhythm for creating content, posting content, and engaging without anxiety or the feeling of being overwhelmed. You’ve found the sites that you prefer, the social media language doesn’t seem like Greek anymore and you’ve found a way to manage it without becoming addicted to it. That’s when you know you’ve found your stride!

Ashlee Tate is Owner/Principal at CREATE PR. She focuses on attracting the right people to your message through social media, inbound marketing, and PR. She is a mother, wife, Viszla lover, new runner and a social butterfly.

Ashlee Tate is Owner/Principal at CREATE PR. She focuses on attracting the right people to your message through social media, inbound marketing, and PR. She is a mother, wife, Viszla lover, new runner and a social butterfly.

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  • Great analogy.  I especially like the point of the “finish line”- that there really isn’t one!  Social media marketing is ongoing.  As soon as you scale back your efforts, or stop completely, you will lose the credibility that it took so much effort to establish in the first place.