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Give Yourself A Headstart

kvinnor söker män i Kristianopel Yesterday, I rode my bicycle 95 kms in 32 C weather. You might say that I had some time to think.

I rode from Javea to Coll de Rates in Costa Blanca, Spain. To cyclists, this may not sound like much of an accomplishment, to non-cyclists this feat sounds insane. In total, the trip took me 4 hours and 40 minutes. But in terms of actual time sitting on the seat and pedalling my bike, the trip took me 4 hours. Back home in Calgary, my normal average speed is 28-30 Kms/h and I consistently ride 90km in about 3-3.5 hours. In short, the ride that I did yesterday took me longer than expected.

Unforseen Obstacles Slow Me Down

There are a number of unknown variables to explain why this trip took me longer than I had anticipated. First, the weather was much hotter than I’m accustomed to riding in which took more out of me than normal. Second, I got lost. A few times. Each time may have only been a 5 minute detour, but I made at least 2 or 3 of these detours which means 10 – 15 minutes was added onto my time and they added extra distance to my ride. Third, I stopped for lunch. I had to eat and refuel along the way. I found a fantastic little restaurant with the greatest salami sanwhiches (called bocadillos). As it turns out, the restaurant I stopped at was a meeting point for other cyclists which gave me a chance to chat with local riders and get some valuable information about climbs and routes in the area. Fourth, it was windy. Really windy – and it felt as though the wind was blowing in my face the whole trip. Lastly, the mountains I climbed are bigger than what I normally ride at home which slowed my average speed.

The Analogy to Social Media

We’re drawn to Social Media because we can see the enormous inherent potential of using it to communicate with our customers. But understanding how Social Media works is not as simple as having a Facebook page or opening a Twitter account. Learning how to use it effectively takes time.

Despite the appearance of a straight forward route, your direction and speed will vary along the way. Your path to successfully integrating social media into your company marketing mix requires foresight and patience.

Foresight will help motivate you to keep going. With a goal and a reason to achieve it, you’ll be able to recruit the right people to help you get there.

Patience will get you through the slow progress mapping out your route. Wrong turns provide a deeper understanding of the networks surrounding you. Battling head winds will develop your voice. Grinding through uphill climbs strengthens your brand message. The people you meet along the way can help you navigate unknown terrain. When you’re in the unknown, you’ll be able to ask the people in that terrain to point you in the right direction, but you won’t likely meet them unless you’re in that space. There are no experts, there are only guides.

Give yourself time to explore.

Here is a list of people and resources that have helped give me direction along my path. I hope they can help you. Please add a comment at the bottom if there are other resources that you’ve found useful.

Marketing Information / Apps
Pulse
Zite
Mashable
eMarketer
IAB
Social Media Examiner
Open Forum

Presentations
Slideshare
Presentation Zen
100 Awesome Marketing Graphs & Charts

Smart People
Brains on Fire
Mitch Joel
Gary Vanerchuk
Seth Godin
Brian Solis
Avinash Kaushik
Chris Brogan

Communities / Groups
Third Tuesday
LinkedIn

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