Social Media Marketing Is Like a Mud Race: Just Keep Going

When running the social media marketing race, it’s important to keep your head down and not compare yourself to others.


I love being in the mountains.  Actually, I love being on the top of the mountains. I live in Colorado and climb the 14K foot peaks as often as I can. Unfortunately it’s a lot of work getting to the top.  Sure it’s beautiful and we all know it’s the journey, not the destination that matters….or so they say!


Last weekend I did something I hadn’t done before.  I completed one of those insane mud, obstacle course races where you jump over muddy walls, crawl under barbed wire through mud, pull your body through muddy dark tunnels, leap over fire (the mud coating your body prevents you from burning), and all kinds of other crazy obstacles that somehow all involved mud.  Aside from the massive bruises I have all over my body this morning, I was reminded of an important lesson that applies to our work in social media management.  I first learned the lesson last year as I was climbing Mt Kilimanjaro.  I would be trekking along feeling great, enjoying the beautiful African scenery and then look up at the summit and feel overwhelmed with how much work we still had to do before reaching the summit (It took 5 days to reach the summit).

summit kilimanjaro

During this weekend’s mud race, there were several big hills in the 5k running part, and if there was one thing I wasn’t prepared for, it was running uphill.  (If there were two things I wasn’t prepared for, it was running uphill and doing obstacles in mud!).  My husband (who had signed us up for this crazy race) and the Schrecklet (the youngest of our four Schrecklets) were ahead of me on the hills, but I was trudging my way up feeling pretty good.  Suddenly, the Schrecklet yelled, “We’re almost there. Come on” and I looked up to see that she was LYING!  I wasn’t even half way to the top of the first hill.  I looked at the people who were already at the top and suddenly everything became harder.

Comparing ourselves to others who are at different stages on this social marketing journey, will bring that same feeling of doom and overwhelm. Perhaps you have just started out on this social media marketing path and you are feeling strong and encouraged. Then you look up and see that person with 200,000 Twitter followers or a Facebook page with 1 million fans on it, and you become discouraged and things seem hard.   We have to stop comparing ourselves to others, especially when they have brands that are completely different from our own, or they’ve been running this race a lot longer or started at a different trail head.

Here are a few tips for social marketing that will help you get to that mountaintop (and enjoy the journey a bit more as well):

  1. Know your goals for social marketing, but keep your eyes focused on the present.

    Know why you are on each social media site and who you are wanting to connect with.  Each platform has can have a slightly different audience. What is your goal on each and what do you have to accomplish today to reach that goal? What specific activities will get you there? When you get distracted, put your head down and focus on these activities to stop comparing.

  2. Understand that you will have high points and you will have low, muddy points!

    Some weeks you will have more time to engage and it seems that everyone loves the content you post and they are sharing it across the web, and other times you will wonder if you broke the internet because no one has read anything you post. Keep moving forward.

  3. Network.

    Find a group of others, either in your same industry or at least in marketing, to meet regularly with and encourage one another. Even if you have to meet up virtually, you need to hear from others that you share the same challenges and successes.  There are associations that meet in person monthly and there are groups that meet up via Tweet Chats or Google Hangouts.  You might even start one with a group of associates you have connected with.

  4. Stop occasionally and celebrate your successes!

    It’s one thing to look up and see how far you still have to go, but when you stop and look back at how far you have come, you will feel energized.  You need to remind yourself of the accomplishments you have achieved.  Whether you throw a Facebook party when you hit a milestone, like 1,000 fans, you bring party hats into the office for your team to celebrate, or you call someone in your networking group to tell them that you just had to celebrate with someone over a big milestone that you have worked hard on…you need to celebrate!  You will then see others who are starting where you did and you will want to high five them and shout “Have fun…don’t look up and watch out for the mud!”

social media is like a race

I’d love to hear from you  in the comments here. What do you do to keep your motivation high in this crazy social marketing business? Do you have special ways you celebrate your milestones?