Ambition is an essential force in starting and growing … pretty much anything! Salvador Dali captured it best when he said, “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.” Ambition makes ideas soar and when you add enthusiasm, the results can be remarkable. So extraordinary that sometimes our ideas run amok with a gigantic media plan. I see this all the time! The brainstorming is endless and every promotional tactic ends up on the media plan calendar all at once. 

So, now I have to do that?

I hear this question repeatedly when people learn about anything new. Reports that Instagram Reels are all the rage or TikTok is expanding well beyond dance memes start to make people nervous that they must keep up and do more, more, more. 

The answer is NO! Only participate if the data shows it will work for you. 

Start-ups especially tend to want to have a presence on every social media platform as soon as they’ve established their businesses. Though exploration is great, your media plan needs to be strategic. 

If you’re in the “see what works” phase of promotion, don’t forget that’s all it is: it’s a test to see what sticks. If you start posting on four social media platforms, and only two perform for you, let go of the two that don’t work. You don’t have to take part in every trendy promotional opportunity that comes along. 

It’s important to keep moving forward, but you have to know your pace. There has to be room in your schedule to do the actual work and, frankly, have a life. Chart a course that is sustainable, so your head is not spinning. 

"Laws of Promotion" by Leslie A.M. Smith
Moving forward and creating momentum doesn’t mean you have to make yourself crazy.
Image from “Laws of Promotion.”

How do you know?

Promotion is not a short race. It takes a while to establish your momentum, fine-tune your messaging to what resonates with your intended audience. Examine the trends and demographics of each platform to see how it compares with your target audience before you venture into something new. Also, check out your competition. Where are they reaching your target market? Are they converting? If so, how? 

Once you have been regularly posting for a few months (or maybe longer), you’ll see what’s pulling ahead and giving you some traction. Evaluation is your friend. 

Leslie A.M. Smith founded McCormick L.A. in 1994 offering public relations and marketing consulting to nonprofits and small businesses. She recently published Laws of Promotion. The 50-page promotional guide for small businesses and local nonprofits iavailable now on Amazon.

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