In 1903 Dr. Horatio Jackson set off on a journey from San Francisco to New York becoming the first person to cross the United States in a “horseless carriage.” At the time there were only 150 miles of paved roads in the entire country. In addition, there were no gas stations and virtually no road maps as we know them today. This was America's first transcontinental road trip, and like many road trips that would follow it included breakdowns and wrong turns.
Is your social media journey beginning to feel like Horatio’s drive? Sure, there are webinars, books, blogs and tweets enticing you to hit the open road; but how do you stay on track once you’ve set up that newfangled social media account and tweeted the link to your newly built online community?
Don’t abandon your strategy …
Many people doubted the automobile had much of a future when Jackson began his cross country trip. Along that same line, despite the millions who have joined, there are millions of executives who believe social platforms are a waste of time and don’t use them at all. One thing that kept Jackson going was his indomitable spirit and sheer enthusiasm for his new mode of transportation. As Jackson moved eastward, his quest slowly became a national sensation and huge crowds began lining the streets of towns to watch him whiz by in his newfangled automobile. Social media platforms and communities will continue to evolve, change and grow. Likewise, you must maintain focus on your social media strategy and stay engaged.
Old and new can coexist …
While in Alturas, California Jackson needed to wait on the shipment of some spare tires. The tires were actually delivered by stagecoach. In fact, during his journey Jackson encountered pioneers in wagon trains and often had to depend on cowboys to use their lariats to help tow him out of mud holes and sand drifts. Keep in mind that some of your contacts and customers may never fully participate in these social sites. That means old and new media channels and communication strategies must coexist. A LinkedIn invite augmented by a personal email; a Twitter posting followed by a direct phone call; a face-to-face meeting fortified by direct mail may take some of the bumps out of your social media road.
Jackson’s trip was initiated as the result of a $50 bet that he could drive an automobile from San Francisco to New York in less than three months. He made it in 63 days, 12 hours and 30 minutes, well within his wager of 90 days. Go ahead and place your bet – the social media highway is designed for your future.