22 Jul

5 Ways Training For An Ironman Is Just Like Being A Social Media Manager

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Ironman in its simplest description is a race of 140.6 miles consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run.  This is an endurance event that has been called the toughest in the world.  Oh, and if going those distances wasn't enough you have to get them done in 17 hours to be labeled with the trademark Ironman brand.  It is a daunting task but not impossible.

Social media marketing in its simplest description is conversing with the public to generate sales of your product.  This is a marketing platform that has been called the wasteland of marketing.  Oh, and if marketing your product or service on a social media platform wasn't enough you have new social media platforms popping up on what seems like a daily basis.  It can be a daunting task but not impossible.

Today, I am in my offseason when it comes to triathlon.  I raced my 3rd and final Ironman of the last 12 months on May 19th at Ironman Texas.  Since then I have been working out but on an unstructured basis and when I have those workouts I have the opportunity to think about other things.  While riding my bike for a few hours (OK, it was 3) I realized just how alike Ironman training and social media marketing/management are.  Here are 5 ways in which both of these seemingly impossible tasks are alike:

  1. Jumping Off The Cliff: One day you made a decision to hit the register button and enter into an Ironman race.  Before you made that decision there was a list of pros and cons, there was discussion with family and friends.  There was a lot of hand-wringing but eventually you decided to take a leap of faith and get into the Ironman game.  This is not unlike making the decision to market your product/service via social media.  There is a lot of hesitation as you have heard all the horror stories.  There are questions about generating revenue and how much time it will take.  You could sit there and wonder what could happen or you can jump off the cliff and get into the game.
  2. Eat That Elephant One Bite At A Time:  There will be days when you think that getting to the finish line is going to be impossible.  You look at the calendar and your training seems so daunting.  There are days of swimming for an hour, running for an hour or two and on the weekend you get the privelege of riding a bike for 4 to 6 hours.  Instead of worrying about what is going to happen on the weekend just focus on the workout that you are involved in.  Social media marketing can be the same.  There are lots of platforms that you can launch your brand on but instead of jumping onto them all and being overwhelmed find out which platform fits your target maret, and I mean perfectly.  In order to have a successful social media marketing campaign you need to fish where the fish are and you can only get to those waters by knowing what your target market is exactly and which social media platform fits.  Do not worry about expanding your marketing platforms and stay focused on the one that is going to provide you with the biggest bang for the buck (also known as ROI.)
  3. Train / Market On A Consistent Basis: When you decided to take that jump off the cliff you knew that you were going to be training for 10-12 hours per week during build phase and 15-20 hours per week during overload weeks.  There is no way to get from the registration button to the finish line of an Ironman without days/weeks/months of consistent training.  Yes, you may miss one day here and there and you will also have rest days but those rest days are part of consistent training.  When marketing your product/service via social media being present on a consistent basis is going to be your best friend.  If you write a blog post whenever you feel like it and then post it to your platforms in an unorganized manner, how much business can you expect to generate?  Setup a content calendar of what you are going to write and when you are going to post it.  Keep track of new followers on Twitter and Likes on Facebook and then thank them on a consistent basis.  This keeps you in the forefront of the consumer's mind and showcases you as the industry expert.
  4. Do Not Be Afraid To Fail: When we train for an Ironman we like to find those workouts that we know we can ace.  We look longingly at the calendar for that day to come and if it is not scheduled we call our coach to find out when we are going to get that workout on the calendar.  This is a mistake as getting comfortable with the uncomfortable is where we expand our horions and realize breakthroughs in performance.  In social media this means being yourself.  We are always so worried about what others think that we fail to be ourselves.  Guess what?  When you are somebody else you have already failed.  When you are yourself and showcase that in your social media marketing there will be people who gravitate toward you and want to engage with you.  The key to social media is engagement and when you are being yourself you will benefit from that.
  5. The Day Isn't Over When You Cross The Finish Line: When you hear your name called by the voice of Ironman, Mike Reilly, you are on top of the world but your work isn't done.  You have to be sure to refuel since you just spent the last 10-17 hours pushing your body to the brink and it needs to be given the proper nutrients to keep functioning.  Now that you have done that you must get some low key workouts in to flush the lactic acid from your muscles and allow you to recover properly. In social media this is about your follow-up.  For example, you wrote a blog post and posted it to your site.  You then recycled that blog post onto a social media platform.  There is a user who makes a comment on your site and another follower who comments on the social media platform.  Your job as a marketer isn't done when you post the content.  You have to check your sites/platforms for comments being left for you.  Respond in a timely manner and create a relationship with that person.

As you can see there are a lot of commonalities between Ironman training/racing and being a social media marketer.  The similarities don't end at these five but like with both Ironman and social media marketing you have to know when to stop and reast.  Instead of giving you 20 items I am stopping and giving you only 5.


Last modified on Monday, 22 July 2013 20:57
Jason Bahamundi

Jason Bahamundi is a marketing specialist with Sonix Studio, a web development, design, SEO and hosting firm with offices in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Dallas, Texas.  An MBA graduate from Iona College in New Rochelle, NY with a BS in Marketing from SUNY-Oswego Jason started his career in marketing in the television industry creating marketing plans for Fortune 500 companies including Pfizer, Clorox, Kraft and Darden Restaurants to name a few.

Jason is not only a marketing professional, but also an Ironman triathlete, which is to say that he knows no limits.  Being able to be creative on the fly is one of his assests and has benefited him and his clients along the way.

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